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What is a No Contest Clause?

The “no contest” clause in your free online will forms penalize any beneficiaries who challenges the validity or contents of your last will and testament. If a beneficiary contests the entirety of your will or a specific bequest they may ultimately forfeit any gift they receive in a will. However in some states, such as California, the court will only enforce a no contest clause in limited situations. Therefore, you may need to consult an attorney regarding the enforceability of “no contest” clause in your particular jurisdiction.

The wording of a “no contest” clause varies but generally a “no contest” clause prevents challengers from receiving any gifts under the will if the file a lawsuit challenging your will. The following is an example:

If any beneficiary under this Will contests in any court any of the provisions of this Will, then each and all such persons shall not be entitled to any devises, legacies, bequests, or benefits under this Will or any codicil hereto, and such interest or share in my estate shall be disposed of as if that contesting beneficiary had not survived me.

While a “no contest” clause cannot entirely prevent a challenge to your will it may decrease the likelihood of a contest. A “no contest” clause is beneficial if you make an uneven distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. Finally, a “no contest” clause can only decrease the likelihood of a contest of a will if the beneficiary that may contest the will has something to lose by contesting the will, meaning they will not want to risk losing the gift they are receiving in your will.