If your loved one recently passed and their will has a “no-contest” clause, you may be asking yourself the following questions:
- What is a no-contest clause?
- Is it possible to challenge a will with a no-contest clause?
- What if the will isn’t valid?
Here’s what you need to know if your loved one’s will includes a no-contest clause:
Essentially, a no-contest clause is designed to discourage beneficiaries named in the will from challenging it.
This is typically done by providing that an individual who tries to contest a will and is unsuccessful will forfeit any bequest they may otherwise receive in the will.
If You Are Not A Named Beneficiary in the Will
If you are not a named beneficiary in the will, then you have nothing to lose by challenging it. However, if you are a named beneficiary in the will and you stand to lose something by challenging it, then you may want to think twice.
The state of Virginia provides that no-contest clauses are “strictly enforced” and “strictly construed,” which means that the courts will enforce the terms of the will even if doing so will cause a named beneficiary to surrender their inheritance.
However, if you have valid reasons and concerns for challenging the will, then the no-contest clause may not be enforceable. Valid reasons for challenging a will may include:
- The testator was not of sound mind when he or she executed the will,
- Someone unduly influenced the testator into making a will that did not reflect their true testamentary intentions, or
- The will fails to meet statutory requirements.
Every Situation Is Different
Most people do not have to worry about challenging their loved one’s will, but there are times when it may be necessary. Not everyone acts with the best of intentions, and if you fear the will is invalid for some reason, it is important to contact a skilled Virginia will contest attorney right away.
If you have a valid reason for challenging your loved one’s will, our lawyers at Obenshain Law Group may be able to help you seek the justice you deserve. Give us a call at (540) 318-7360 or fill out an online contact form.