No Contest Clauses Historical Overview

While the enforceability of no-contest clauses has been restricted over time, these clauses were traditionally regarded as the biggest single obstacle to trust and estate litigation. A no-contest clause is a provision in an otherwise valid instrument that, if enforced, would penalize a beneficiary if the beneficiary files a contest with the court. Prob C §21310(c); former Prob C §21300(d). A typical no-contest clause provides that a beneficiary will forfeit his or her beneficial interest in the estate plan if he or she seeks to invalidate or impair the instrument or any of its provisions.

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