To put it simply, a No-Contest Clause is a clause you can put in your will or trust that states anyone who tries to contest/challenge the documents will be disinherited or excluded from their benefits. Contesting a will or trust can create animosity and needless probate litigation which will diminish the assets in the estate. If a beneficiary does choose to go this route and they lose, they lose everything. On the other hand, if they win, they could be entitled to claim much more. It’s risky and mostly not worth it to most people. Better to have something than nothing.
Michigan does enforce this clause, however, if there is probable cause for an heir or beneficiary to challenge a will OR a provision in a will, the penalty cannot be enforced. Probable cause includes undue influence, the person making the will did not understand what they were doing, was not of sound mind, or doesn’t meet the legal requirements such as being unsigned among some other things.
If you are having any issues with a will, whether you are the personal representative or possibly a contester, it would be best to bring it up with the probate attorney that is helping you or seek one out. They will know best how to evaluate the situation and assist you with how to proceed.
If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to update your will or trust to have a No-Contest Clause, please contact us and we would love to be of assistance!