Inheritance Lawyer O’Fallon, MO
Probate is the process Missouri law requires all wills go through. Basically, probate is where the court determines if a will is valid or not, and if so, then all expenses of the estate are paid, and the heirs receive the rest. An inheritance lawyer in O’Fallon, MO can provide more details regarding the different steps in the probate process.
The probate process is also where beneficiaries can contest the will. The main reason why this would happen is because a person is not happy with the inheritance they have – or have not received. They may feel that they were entitled to more than the amount allotted to them, however, they also must have a valid reason. For example, if an heir thinks their elderly mother was coerced by one of their siblings into changing her will and leaving most of her estate to that sibling.
Unfortunately, people will also contest a will even though they don’t have a valid cause but are just unhappy about their inheritance. They try to contest a will and end up dragging the process out into an acrimonious battle. If you would like to make sure that this doesn’t happen with your will, discuss with your O’Fallon MO inheritance lawyer the possibility about adding a no-contest clause to your will.
What Is a No-Contest Clause?
A no-contest clause is a stipulation written into the will (or trust) about any attempts at contesting the will. The clause describes specific consequences for any heir who contests the will without just cause. The purpose of the clause is to prevent any challenges to the will from heirs who are unhappy because they are not getting more.
The person writing the will can implement any penalties they choose. In many of the cases we see here at Legacy Law Center, the decedent decides that any heir who challenges the will without a valid reason will lose their inheritance entirely. If an heir is aware of this, they may think twice before bringing forth a frivolous challenge to the will.
The key word is frivolous. A no-contest clause is not aimed at stopping legitimate ones. For example, let’s say a man writes a will with a no-contest clause. He then develops dementia. When he passes away, his adult children find out that their father had changed his will and left everything to the home health care aide who was taking care of him. They suspect that the will is not valid and file a motion to contest it. Although there is a no-contest clause in his will, his children can still contest the will if they have a legitimate concern over their father’s state of mind and the influence of the health care aide and not be penalized.
Contact an Inheritance Lawyer in O’Fallon, MO Today
If you would like to add a no-contest clause to your will, contact an inheritance lawyer O’Fallon, MO clients recommend from Legacy Law Center to learn how we can help you with this issue and other estate planning needs you may have.