» Probate Litigation

What is a no-contest clause?

A no-contest clause, also called an “in terrorem” clause, is a provision in a will or trust that is included by the testator. The clause is intended to penalize a person who tries to contest the will or trust after the testator's death. The no-contest clause often disinherits the person partially or completely for contesting the document. A no-contest clause is enforceable unless the person contesting the will or trust has probable cause for bringing the proceedings. You should make sure that you have an experienced probate attorney who knows to bring a probable cause hearing prior to contesting the will or trust. If the court concludes that there is probable cause to contest the will or trust, the person can then proceed with the petition, without the no-contest clause being enforced. If you bring an action without establishing probable cause for contesting the document, the result may be that you are completely disinherited.