Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Enforcement of No-Contest Clauses

Most wills and trusts, in my experience, contain no-contest clauses, which say something like: if a beneficiary contests the terms of my will or trust they get nothing. Most clients like this language. They think it protects them from a beneficiary who comes swinging out of the corner so-to-speak and tries to claim more than what was left to him or her. The problem is that sometimes the no-contest clause protects a will or trust, but sometimes it doesn’t.


Nevada law states that no-contest clauses will be enforced with certain exceptions. It will not be enforced if a beneficiary seeks (1) to enforce the terms of the will or trust, (2) to enforce his or her legal rights under the will or trust, or (3) to have a court construe or determine the legal effect of the will or trust. Also, a no-contest clause will not be enforced in certain circumstances if legal action is brought in good faith and based on probable cause. These exceptions combined with the overarching principle that law abhors forfeitures can at times render a no-contest clause seemingly meaningless. So if you suspect you will have problems with your beneficiaries, please consider consulting with an attorney at Jeffrey Burr, Ltd. about planning around your particular circumstance.


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