When you execute a will, you do so with the hope that this effort will eliminate potential confusions and conflicts that may arise regarding who will inherit your estate when you die. Without a will, California intestate laws will kick in and determine who can inherit your property and who cannot.
It is not uncommon for an interested party to dispute a will. If this happens to you, and they succeed, your will may be thrown out and, with it, your wishes. Fortunately, one of the tools you can use to shield your will from disputes is a “no-contest” clause.
Understanding a no-contest clause
Basically, a no-contest clause is meant to discourage beneficiaries from contesting their allotments. The provision states that any beneficiary who disputes their inheritance forfeits their allotment as well as any other benefits they would have accessed. It is crucial to note that a no-contest clause does not bar non-beneficiaries from contesting a will.
Under California law, a no-contest clause is not enforceable under the following circumstances:
- “Forced election.” This happens when a property transfer is challenged on the grounds that it did not belong to the transferor at the time of the transfer
- When prosecuting or filing a creditor’s claim
- When a direct contest is based on flimsy grounds or without probable cause
A will clarifies your wishes and desires when you are no longer around to speak for yourself. Learning more about California estate planning laws can help you understand how to incorporate a no-contest clause into your will effectively.