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No-contest

Different countries – or even States – may have different approaches to no-contest clauses in Last Wills. Simply put, if someone contests a Will, they will automatically be excluded as beneficiaries from that Will. 

The US is a good example of the many different approaches regarding enforcing a no-contest clause. Generally speaking, most states have laws dictating if and how a court is going to enforce a no-contest clause. Courts in certain States may enforce the clauses or not. This often depends on whether the contest is done with probable/just cause and/or in good faith.

 

List of States

States that usually do enforce no-contest clauses with no regard for probable cause or good faith: Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming as well as the District of Columbia

States that usually do enforce no-contest clauses, unless the contest has probable cause: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin

States that usually do enforce no-contest clauses, unless the contest was in good faith: Arkansas and Illinois

States that usually do enforce no-contest clauses, unless the contest was in good faith and has probable cause: Connecticut, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia

States that do usually enforce no-contest clauses, unless the contest was in good faith and has just cause: Texas 

States that do usually enforce no-contest clauses, unless the contest is successful: Delaware 

States that sometimes do not usually enforce no-contest clauses (in certain cases regarding fiduciary suits): California, Delaware, New York, and Oregon

States with courts that may take probable cause and good faith contests into consideration: Georgia and Mississippi 

States that explicitly do not enforce no-contest clauses: Florida and Indiana

No laws on enforcing no-contest clauses: Vermont

 

We are also kindly asking you to verify what the rules and regulations are for your own case.

Last updated: April 7, 2022

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