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Do I Need to Use A No-Contest Clause in My Estate Planning?

Many people are concerned about the possibility of their estate being contested in the future. This can lead to continuous litigation that is expensive and emotionally draining for your loved ones.

Even those loved ones who are recipients of assets inside your estate who find themselves in the midst of litigation with a sibling or other person who has specifically been disinherited. You can minimize the chances of this conflict in the future by using a tool known as a no-contest clause.

A no-contest clause inside a living trust or a will is a strategy that is intended to discourage estate plan beneficiaries from attempting to sue, arguing that your estate plan is invalid. One of the most common reasons that someone initiates a will contest is because they believe that they are entitled to more than you left behind for them.

When you draft a valid estate plan with the help of an estate planning attorney, and also include a no-contest clause, a beneficiary who unsuccessfully challenges a living trust or will officially forfeits all of his or her inheritance through that document. If there is a risk that one of your beneficiaries might challenge a living trust or a will, a no-contest clause might be beneficial for you.

However, in many situations a no-contest clause is not completely necessary if there is no reasonable risk of a lawsuit by a beneficiary. Remember that you are not responsible for being fair when distributing your property, and you have the right to select the method of distribution that most appeals to you.

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