What is a No Contest Clause?
A no contest clause (also called an in terrorem clause) in a will is something to be taken seriously.
A typical no contest clause will state that if the will is challenged, then the person bringing the challenge will be taken out of the will.
In this article we’re going to talk about how these clauses work and what options may still be available.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
The first thing you should know is that a no contest clause is enforceable in Georgia.
As a result, you must be very careful if you find one in your loved one’s will.
Here are some things you can and can’t do.
What If The No Contest Clause Mentions The Word “Challenge”?
When the no contest clause mentions the word “challenge”, it is referring to a legal objection to the will in probate court.
If you file an objection, then you will have likely triggered the no contest clause. Unfortunately, once triggered, there is no taking it back.
Once the clause is triggered, you must either win on your objection and have the will thrown out, or be struck out of the will.
You must consider very carefully the chances of success and whether an objection is worth it.
Sometimes, there is an opportunity to object to the actions of the executor without triggering the no contest clause in the will.
That can be important if your actual concern is that the executor is not or will not act in the best interests of the estate.
A concern like that often comes up when the executor had a power of attorney over your loved one and there are some questionable transactions that occurred.
While this option is sometimes available, it is very complicated and can get messed up easily, so don’t try it on your own.
Handling a no contest clause is a complicated undertaking.
If you are in a situation like this, you absolutely need to have an experienced attorney helping you because there are lots of ways it can go wrong.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you have concerns about a no contest clause in a will, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.