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Are No-Contest Clauses Legal in Illinois Wills?

 Posted on November 03, 2022 in Estate Planning

Kane County Estate Planning LawyerIt is important for everyone to have a last will and testament. A will allows you to determine exactly how your assets are distributed to loved ones after you pass away. Furthermore, having your wishes established in writing prevents family members and other loved ones from having to guess how you would want asset distribution handled.

Unfortunately, even the most detailed will cannot completely eliminate the chances of someone being upset regarding the will’s directives. Family members may feel that they were given an unfair share of your estate or otherwise disagree with the decisions you have made. They may contest the will in court, claiming that the will is not valid and should be thrown out.

If you are worried about people contesting your will after your death, one option you have in Illinois is a “no contest” clause.

Using a No-Contest Clause to Discourage Challenges to the Will

Unlike some states, Illinois courts do allow the use of no-contest clauses in wills. A no-contest clause is a provision that places certain conditions on any future will contests.  A no-contest clause cannot prohibit a will’s validity from being formally questioned. However, it may dissuade an unsatisfied heir from contesting the will in court.

Consider an example: A testator plans to leave $10,000 to each of her adult grandchildren. However, the grandson has significant financial obligations and believes that he should inherit a greater amount than the other grandchildren. The testator is concerned that her grandson will find his inheritance unsatisfactory and impede the distribution of the inheritance by contesting the will in court. She includes a no-contest clause in her will, explaining that anyone who contests the will in court will lose his or her inheritance. The grandson would be risking his $10,000 if he challenges the validity of the will in court.

Work With an Estate Planning Attorney Experienced in No-Contest Clauses

Although no-contest clauses are legal in Illinois, a no-contest clause cannot completely eliminate the possibility of a contest. Furthermore, a no-contest clause must be clear and detailed to be enforceable. If there is ambiguous language or confusion, there is a much greater chance of a successful will contest. Make sure to work with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer if you decide to use a no-contest clause.

Contact Our Geneva Estate Planning Lawyer

Kane County estate planning attorney Reese Krajniak has over a decade of legal experience. She can help you evaluate all of your estate planning options and then draft a will that meets your family’s unique needs. Call Loire Krajniak Law, LLC at 630-448-2406 and set up a free consultation.



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