The No-Contest Clause in a Will

When a loved one passes away, families often become hyper focused on who inherits specific items or who will oversee the estate. This creates major problems among loved ones and can drive families apart. It’s a common situation. This worry that heirs will “fight over” the contents of their Will, often leads to the use of a “no-contest clause”. The no-contest clause in a will basically says if any beneficiary of the Will contests it and loses, they forfeit everything they stood to inherit. This may not seem in keeping with the spirit of the law but this is designed to protect the wishes of the person who created the Will.

An example of the no-contest clause in a will is as follows: Rick has two grown children. One of his children cannot handle money responsibly. In his Will, Rick leaves that child a set amount of money. He discourages his son from challenging the Will by using a no-contest clause. Rick hopes this will deter his son from challenging the will because if he loses his challenge, he stands to gain nothing.

The no-contest clause in a will can be a powerful tool, if used correctly and in accordance with the laws of the state. In both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the clause is legal. However, if you are looking to protect an heir from careless spending of their inheritance due to a lack of financial responsibility, there are other ways you can accomplish this. You can create a trust that is designated for a specific use and a specific person, for example.


One of the ways to protect a loved one after you are gone is through the use of a trust with provisions on how and when the money is used. To set up a trust, it is wise to seek out an experienced estate planning attorney. The attorney should not only know the practice of setting up and managing all aspects of estate planning. He should also be aware of the court system, the procedures and the state laws that govern these provisions.

If you are looking to establish an estate plan, create your will or other planning for you or your family’s future, contact us. Jason has the experience you need in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts to protect your interests.

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