Tuscaloosa, AL asked in Estate Planning for Alabama

Q: Can a clause be written into a will that if one of the heirs contests the will they get nothing?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jack T. Carney
Jack T. Carney
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Yes. I usually tell clients that a "no contest" or "in terrorem" clause is enforceable in Alabama, however, courts will strictly construe these clauses, meaning that the court will almost look for a reason not to enforce the clause if possible. Nonetheless, these clauses can be important because they will make someone think twice about challenging a Will.

I should note that these clauses only work if you leave the individual something in the Will. Otherwise, they have nothing to lose if they decide to challenge the Will. We commonly recommend leaving them enough to make them think twice about challenging the Will, e.g., leave a beneficiary $10,000 as opposed to $10.

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