Contesting a will with a no contest clause.

Robert Ray

 

 

 

Most wills have a no-contest clause in them. These no contest clauses are also called in terrorem clauses. I have described these here. Many people ask if these no contest clauses mean that they can’t contest a will. The answer to that question is no.

Courts are reluctant to enforce these clauses because of the chilling effect they have on legitimate claims that the will being contested is not the will of the testator. Imagine a situation where a person has gained undue influence over the testator who then makes a will leaving little to his family and benefiting the person exerting the undue influence. If the family receives anything under the will, they will be afraid that they will lose what little they have if they contest the will. It’s for this reason that courts are reluctant to enforce these clauses. The legislature also passed a law making these provisions void if the person contesting the will did so in good faith and with just cause. Under that law, even if a contestant loses the will contest, he won’t be denied his inheritance set out in the unsuccessfully challenged will if the court or jury finds he was contesting the will in good faith and with just cause. Of course, if someone is contesting a will without good faith and just cause, the courts may enforce the no-contest clause. There are very few cases where the courts have enforced these provisions although there are some.

You can find more information here.

I have created a podcast about no-contest clauses in a will. You can find it here.

UPDATES

There are new cases all the time that clarify or change the law on inheritance disputes. Keep up-to-date by subscribing to our blog.

'

Subscribe

Recent Posts

What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 2

What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 2

Representing yourself in court I have written before about what can go wrong when representing yourself in court. Look at this post and this one. The law refers to you as a pro se litigant. Many people ask about representing themselves in court. They also want to know...

Problems filing in the wrong court

Problems filing in the wrong court

What happens if you miss-file your claims When a case or claim is filed in the wrong court, you may lose your claim without being heard. If your case is dismissed after the statute of limitations has run, you are out of luck no matter how good your claim was....

What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 1

What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 1

Contesting a will in Texas and representing yourself Representing yourself in a Texas will contest is like operating on yourself. Can you do it? Yes. Is it safe to do it? No. Necessary Disclaimer: Do not take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what you read....

Removal Suits May be Subject to the Texas Anti-SLAPP, TCPA Law

Removal Suits May be Subject to the Texas Anti-SLAPP, TCPA Law

Problems with Removal of Trustee or Executor Trustees and executors are fiduciaries and owe duties to the beneficiaries of the trust or estate that they are in charge of. If they breach those duties, they can be removed. The Texas Anti-SLAPP, TCPA, law was established...

Learn the First Step in Contesting a Will in Texas

The first thing that you must do in Texas when you have an idea that you may be contesting a will is to contact a Texas attorney and you should contact the lawyer as soon as possible. Since contesting a will is litigation, you need to contact a lawyer who is familiar...

Learn How to Successfully Contest a Will in Texas

First Thing The first thing that you must do when you have an idea that you may be challenging a will is to contact a Texas attorney and you should contact the lawyer as soon as possible. Since contesting a will is litigation, you need to contact a lawyer who is...

Can I contest a will without an attorney

Will contests are litigation cases. They are complicated because the Rules of Evidence and the Rules of Civil Procedure must be observed. A judge is under a legal obligation not to favor one party over the other so (s)he will not be able to tell you what to do or when...

The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
© Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This