It is not unusual for surviving family members to feel disgruntled with the manner in which a loved one may have distributed assets in his or her will. In some cases, this dissatisfaction could lead to probate litigation as individuals attempt to obtain an outcome that they feel better suits the circumstances. Litigation could also come about in the event that Texas families suspect that a will may be invalid.
Because litigation can tie up probate for years, some individuals may attempt to lessen the likelihood of will contests by including no-contest clauses in their wills. Typically, these clauses will include some type of element intended to dissuade individuals from contesting the document. For instance, a testator may state that if a person contests the will, then that person will forfeit any inheritance to which he or she may have been entitled.
Depending on state law, these clauses may not always be enforceable. For example, if an individual has a good reason to contest the will, such as the testator being subjected to undue influence, the court may not enforce a no-contest clause. However, these stipulations vary from state to state, so it is important for individuals to understand applicable statutes.
Fortunately, if Texas residents believe they have reason to move forward with probate litigation, they do not have to blindly take a risk. Consulting with experienced attorneys could allow interested individuals to better understand applicable laws and their options for dealing with no-contest clauses. In some cases, taking such action may be necessary to ensure that a loved one's true intentions are followed.