What happens if you contest a will with a no-contest clause?

There are many things that could have implications for a person when he or she is challenging a will here in California. One is whether the will being contested contains a no-contest clause.

Such a clause, when in a will, typically directs that a person loses his or her inheritance under the will if he or she brings an unsuccessful contest against the will.

Are such clauses enforceable? It depends on the state you are in, as states vary in their rules on such clauses.

California does not have an all-out prohibition on enforcing these clauses. However, state law does limit the types of contests such clauses can be enforced over. In most cases, a contest of a will (or other estate planning device) has to have been without probable cause for a no-contest clause to be enforceable in relation to it. Probable cause hinges on whether the facts a person knew when contesting a will were sufficient to justify a reasonable belief that there was a reasonable likelihood that the contest would ultimately be successful.

So, whether a no-contest clause would be enforceable in respect to a given effort to contest a will in California depends on the specifics of the contest.

When a person is thinking about contesting a will here in California and is worried about a no-contest clause and whether it could be enforced against him or her, it can be important for him or her to have a full and accurate picture of the situation. Talking to a skilled estate litigation lawyer could help with this.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Get The Help You Need

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP | Est. 1995

3445 Golden Gate Way
Lafayette, CA 94549

Toll Free: 888-355-4093
Phone: 925-297-6179
Fax: 925-283-3683
Lafayette Law Office Map