After a loved one has passed, the will is read and it goes into probate so the distribution of assets can begin. However, there will occasionally be some surprises in the will for some family members where they discover that they are not getting quite what they wanted. From this, will contests and other disputes are born. As long as they file within certain time limits, family members can contest a will even after it has gone through probate. However, is there a way to prevent will contests?
In some states, the creator of a will has the ability to pre-validate a will before their death which in turn will prevent will contests after their death. However, California is not one of those states. What a concerned will holder can do if they don't want their loved ones fighting in court after their death is to include a no-contest clause within the will itself.
These no-contest clauses don't completely prevent will contests. However, what they do is state that if the beneficiary challenges the will and loses, they will not only lose whatever they were seeking, but will lose whatever else was bequest to them in the will as well. This is essentially a threat to make them think twice about casing trouble for the rest of your grieving family, but does not always stop contests if they are confident they can win. However, a no-contest clause often can be enough for a judge to defend the will's integrity.
If you want to draw up a will and put stipulations in place so it won't be contested or want to contest a will of your recently passed loved one, contact us today. The Law Offices of James C. Shields are dedicated to making estate planning simple so you can get the results you desire.