No-Contest Clause – Wills and Probate

“Mom’s will left my brother $25,000 and her car. The rest of mom’s property went to me. My brother is claiming that mom “lacked testamentary capacity” and her will was the result of my undue influence. Mom’s will contains a “no-contest” clause, which states that anyone who contests her will should take only $1. If my brother files a lawsuit, will he lose his gift?”

Possible Solution:

This depends on whether he is successful in his lawsuit. If he wins, the judge will throw out your mom’s will and her property will pass according to any earlier will that might be found (if she had no prior will, her property falls under the laws of “intestate succession”).

If your bother brings a lawsuit and does not prevail, he may lose his gift under your mom’s will. Some states strictly enforce “no-contest” clauses, which would mean that your bother would not get the $25,000 or the car. Some states do not like no-contest clauses and do not enforce them. In these states, even if your brother lost his lawsuit, he would take what your mom left him under her will.

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