A "no contest" clause in a will is often used to prevent fighting among the heirs to an estate. The clause typically states that any beneficiary who challenges a will could lose his or her inheritance. If you are interested in challenging a no-contest clause will in Virginia, here is what you need to know.
What is a "No Contest" Clause?
A no contest clause is a provision in a will or trust that states that if a beneficiary under the will or trust tries to challenge the validity of it, they will forfeit their rights to take under the will or trust.
Although the law states the will is to be strictly enforced, you can still challenge it. If someone successfully challenges a will with a no contest clause, the will is then considered invalid, and a prior will or trust will then control what happens to the inheritance. However, if the challenger is unsuccessful, they will lose the inheritance.
What Are the Legal Reasons for Challenging a Will?
To challenge a will, you have to prove there is substantial legal reasoning for doing so. For instance, you can argue that the testator was not mentally sound when he or she created the will. You could even argue that the testator was under duress or being improperly influenced, and this impacted the will's creation.
Another valid reason for contesting a will is that it does not meet the state's legal requirements. For instance, in the state of Virginia, the will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. If there were no witnesses, the will might be invalidated.
How Do You Start the Process?
Contesting a will often requires the skills of an attorney. Before contesting a will, you should schedule a consultation with a law firm, such as the Obenshain Law Group. An attorney can help evaluate the will and determine if further legal action is possible. If you have a valid reason for contesting the will, the attorney can advise you on the next steps to take to challenge the will.
Call Obenshain Law Group at (540) 318-7360 if you need help contesting a will.