Challenging an Estate Plan

Many wills and trusts today have what is known as a “no contest” clause. Including such a clause is standard procedure to help fend off any legal challenges to the contents of a will or trust.

What these clauses say is that anyone who receives an inheritance from a will or who is a beneficiary of a trust receives nothing, if they challenge the validity of something in the will or trust. They effectively disinherit anyone who is not satisfied with the assets that they receive.

Even no contest clauses are not bulletproof as the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discusses in “Take It or Leave It: The Perilous Decision of Whether to Violate a No Contest Clause.”

Sometimes when a person challenges a no contest clause and loses the challenge, courts will refuse to enforce the clause. Sometimes when a person challenges a no contest clause and wins the challenge, the court will enforce the clause anyway.

The difference between the two extremes is a matter of individual state law and what exactly is being challenged.

There are different rules in every state.

Anyone who wants to challenge the contents of a will or trust needs to make sure that they speak to an experienced elder law attorney in the appropriate state to get good advice about what challenges are worth making and what challenges should be avoided at all costs.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Nov. 24, 2017) “Take It or Leave It: The Perilous Decision of Whether to Violate a No Contest Clause.”

Hear From Our Clients

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce

Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!

- Marcia

I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!

- Ben