Last week, I was talking with a woman from Hendersonville, Tennessee. She was an heir of a fairly substantial estate. She was not, however, as much of an heir as she thought she would be and she wanted to know her options. The trust contained a “no contest” clause that contained fairly standard language. The clause said, basically, that if anyone challenged the trust and the challenge failed, the challenger would lose their inheritance. I see it all the time. A child is hooked on drugs and has chosen a life of destruction rather than of production. The family knows that person, if they receive anything, will immediately waste it or feed their addiction. Normally, the family has given and given and given and the addicted person has taken and taken and taken. The estate plan was set up to avoid this terrible cycle of events.
What is wrong with that? There is no incentive NOT to challenge. If you do not challenge, you receive nothing. If you do challenge and lose, you receive nothing. If you challenge successfully, you may receive something plus you get the satisfaction of continuing to injure the family or person who disinherited you. Revenge.
Is there a better way to handle this situation? Yes there is and it is simple.
If this is a concern of yours, please attend one of my upcoming educational events or call my office at 731-307-4007 and set up a time to discuss a simple strategy that can help avoid a destructive and costly estate battle in the future.