When writing a will, many people want to prevent their children, beneficiaries and other loved ones from fighting over an inheritance. A parent or grandparent’s desire to stop in-fighting may result in him or her writing in a no-contest clause.
What happens if you fear that your loved one signed a will or wrote others into the will under duress? According to California law, there are specific circumstances where a no-contest will is not enforceable.
What is a no-contest clause?
No-contest clauses forbid you from challenging the terms of the will. After a person dies, many families begin to fall apart because of arguments that occur during grief. People may have expectations about their inheritance and when the inheritance does not live up to it, they may want to fight the will. In this case, the no-contest will protects the document and disinherits anyone who tries to fight the terms of the will.
When can you fight a no-contest clause?
You can fight a no-contest clause if you have a valid reason to think that your loved one could not make sound decisions or that someone manipulated him or her into changing the will. You cannot initiate a creditor’s claim or plead to argue for the transfer of property that the settlor cannot transfer.
While giving your loved one the benefit of the doubt and honoring a will can be important, if you worry that your loved one did not have a sound mind when creating certain aspects of the document, you may want to fight the no-contest clause.