No-Contest Provisions in Wills and Trusts

You’ve taken the important step of getting your estate plan in order, now don’t you expect your plan and your wishes to be followed? While nothing can completely stop a relative from challenging your will or trust, a no-contest provision can be a deterrent from such challenges and is a common clause in most wills and trusts.

What is a No-Contest Provision?

A no-contest provision is a clause in your will or trust that totally cuts out a beneficiary if they challenge your plan and lose. It sounds severe, but it’s meant to deter and punish a challenge to your plan.

Who Would Challenge My Will or Trust?

Generally a challenge (or caveat) will happen when someone is anticipating a larger share of your estate than they actually inherit. Children are common challengers when they are not treated equally. The main deterrent factor for a no-contest provision is when a beneficiary is actually receiving something from your estate, but less than what they could if your will didn’t exist. If someone is being totally disinherited, there’s no deterrent to challenging the will because their share cannot get worse – it’s already $0.