Are no-contest clauses enforceable?

Are no-contest clauses enforceable?

| Dec 15, 2018 | Wills And Trusts |

One of the main goals of estate planning is to avoid having discord arise amongst your beneficiaries in Baton Rouge once you are gone. Alas, there is no guarantee that, even despite your best intentions, one of those you leave behind will be unsatisfied with their interest in your estate. Depending on the source of their dissatisfaction, they may attempt to challenge (or even invalidate) your will. Such an action would no doubt lead to untold tension. What if, however, there were away to deter such a challenge from ever happening? 

Some say that may be possible with a no-contest clause. These clauses contain language which specifies that one who attempts to challenge all or part of a will risks having their interest in an estate reduced or even terminated. This essentially ends the potential of one contesting the terms of your will through the fear of being disinherited. Yet some might say that there are indeed situations where your beneficiaries might have legitimate reasons to question your will (such as concerns that you might have been unduly influenced in its creation). The argument, then, would be that a no-contest clause unfairly ends their right to recourse. Per The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Louisiana is one of 14 states that enforces no-contest clauses regardless of good faith or probable cause. Thus, any challenges to your will would invoke such a clause. 

Clear communication with those who would be your beneficiaries may ensure that even in you choose to add a no-contest clause to your will, the chances of it taking effect would be slim. Explaining the motives behind your decisions while you still can may eliminate any potential challenges before they ever arise. Such advice should not be seen as actual legal counsel, but rather sound reasoning.