When you are drawing up your will, as the Testator, you are legally entitled to divide your assets between any individuals, organisations, trusts or charities of your choosing. However there may come an occasion after your death where a beneficiary is either questioning the validity of your Will, or they believe that they have been unfairly disinherited or not received as much as they were entitled to.
This clause will only discourage someone from contesting the Will if they have something to lose.
The no contest clause
The “No Contest Clause” was originally added to Wills as a deterrent for disgruntled relatives trying to contest a Will to get more than their fair share.
This clause states that any beneficiary that chooses to contest the WIll shall forfeit their entire inheritance. On some occasions this clause will also state that the losing party will cover all of the financial fees for all of the parties involved in the case.
Obviously this clause will only discourage someone from contesting the Will if they have something to lose. For example, if a relative has received an inheritance, they believe they should have received more but know that if they were to raise a dispute and they lose, they will forfeit everything. Whereas someone that has been disinherited, and not received an inheritance, will have nothing to lose from contesting the Will.
Important factors to consider when writing your Will
To ensure that the validity of your Will can not be brought into question after your death, it is important that along with the “No Contest Clause” you make sure that –
- Your Will is in writing, signed by yourself and two witnesses.
- That you are at full mental capacity when making your Will.
- That all of the decisions are made by yourself without any undue influence.
- That you understand the entire value of your estate.
- That your Will is not forged.
If a beneficiary contests your Will and proves that it is invalid then the no contest clause will become void.