COVID-19 Notice: In order to best serve you while doing our part to maximize health and safety, we continue to be available for telephone and Zoom video conferences, and documents can be prepared, reviewed, signed, and exchanged electronically. Call 646-561-9099 for your legal needs!

Do no-contest clauses prevent all will contests?

| Oct 31, 2018 | probate |

There are many reasons why loved ones may feel unsettled about the manner in which a recently-passed family member distributed his or her assets. Some parties may think that they were unjustly disinherited, and others may think that someone took advantage of the loved one for personal gain. In these cases, it is not unusual for will contests to take place.

Because these contests can hold up New York probate proceedings, some individuals may want to take measures to prevent litigation. This may mean that they use no-contest clauses in their wills to deter challenges in relation to the terms of the document. These clauses often include information indicating that the person who challenges the document will forfeit any inheritance he or she may have otherwise obtained.

Of course, if a family member has been disinherited, that person may have nothing to lose by contesting the will. Other factors could also make it plausible to challenge the document despite the no-contest clause, such as believing that the testator was unduly influenced or that the will itself is fraudulent. Additionally, state laws can impact the enforceability of these clauses.

While will contests can cause complications for probate proceedings, New York residents may have important and valid reasons for challenging the terms of such documents. Still, there are many details that can impact a person’s ability to move forward with this type of litigation. If parties are concerned about the validity of their loved ones’ will, they may wish to speak with knowledgeable attorneys about those concerns and their legal options.