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What is a No Contest Clause?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 19, 2014

One of the main reasons it’s important to review your estate plan often is because of the likelihood that you have made a mistake somewhere. Mistakes could be an incorrect beneficiary, not including a large asset, or forgetting to include or exclude someone from your will.

Most people’s greatest fear concerning estate planning is the scenario in which an ex-spouse or child no one knew about returns for the purpose of claiming a share of the estate. Besides talking honestly with your estate-planning attorney about all possible heirs, former spouses, and your past, one way you can prevent this from happening is with a no-contest clause.

A no-contest clause is a legal tool that prevents anyone who challenges your estate from getting a piece of it. These clauses can be sweeping or narrowly written, but the message it sends is the same: be happy with what you received or you’ll give it up.

One issue that can arise with the no contest clause is that if you do make a genuine error in your will, there is no way to correct it. The standard procedure for correcting such mistakes is to challenge the will, and a no-contest clause means the beneficiary does this at their own exclusion. However, if you have family members you believe may cause trouble for others during probate, a no-contest clause may be the way to go, as long as your will is carefully reviewed often with an experienced estate-planning attorney.

Learn more about how to protect your assets by contacting Chris Benson. Over the past 22 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More