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Can Estranged Relatives Contest Your Will After You Pass Away?

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August 12, 2020 | Legal Zoom
Lorelei Laird

Flaster Greenberg elder and disability law attorney Jane Fearn-Zimmer was quoted extensively in an article for LegalZoom.com focused on will contesting, including how to avoid challenges by a family member after someone passes away.

"You can avoid challenges to your will in other ways as well. Most importantly, you can talk to your loved ones about your plans, which ensures that they're clear on what you want and creates evidence of intent and mental capacity. Jane Fearn-Zimmer, of Flaster Greenberg in Cherry Hill, N.J., adds that making a gift during your lifetime might put the recipient in a bad position to file challenges later.

"Because they have accepted the gift, they have a lot of trouble answering the question of 'Well, why did you take the gift if your dad wasn't competent?'" Fearn-Zimmer says.

According to Fearn-Zimmer, a no-contest clause in a will—also called an in terroram clause—is a kind of safeguard in a will to prevent a contest. Typically, it would say that if anybody who otherwise stood to inherit challenges the will unsuccessfully, they lose the money they would have inherited. This creates an incentive not to contest the will.

Click here to read to article in its entirety. 

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