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What is a no-contest clause and do you need it in your will?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

When you create a will, you do so to eliminate potential confusions and conflicts that may arise regarding the fate of your assets. However, if you have concerns about someone disputing your will, it helps to figure out how you can protect it.

One of the steps you can take to protect your will from disputes is by including a “no-contest” clause in your will. But what exactly is a no-contest clause and how can it protect your will?

Understanding a no-contest clause

A no-contest clause is aimed at the heirs enlisted on the will document. The clause makes clear that any beneficiary who chooses to contest the will shall forfeit their inheritance as well as any other benefits they would have accessed based on the terms of the will. However, it is important to understand that a no-contest clause does not prevent individuals excluded from the will from disputing it.

But is a no-contest clause enforceable?

New Jersey is one of the 18 states that follow the provisions in the Uniform Probate Code that allow beneficiaries to contest a will on grounds of probable cause without necessarily invoking the no-contest clause. Thus, if someone has evidence that you created and signed the will under undue influence, or that you were not of sound mind while creating it, they can raise their concerns without jeopardizing their interests.

So what are the benefits of including a no-contest clause in your will?

A no-contest clause offers the following benefits:

  • Discourage baseless disputes that can strain family relations after your passing
  • Respect your right to distribute your assets according to your wishes
  • Discourage meritless legal battles that can prolong the probate process

A will gives you peace of mind knowing that your assets will go to the right people when you die. Find out how you can safeguard your will from disputes.