no contest

No-contest clause

A no-contest clause, also called an in terrorem clause, is a clause in a legal document, such as a contract or a will, that is designed to threaten someone, usually with litigation or criminal prosecution, into acting, refraining from action, or ceasing to act. The phrase is typically used to refer to a clause in a will that threatens to disinherit a beneficiary of the will if that beneficiary challenges the terms of the will in court.

No-contest clause in wills

The Uniform Probate Code §2-517 allows for no contest clauses so long as the person challenging the will doesn't have probable cause to do so (see also §3-905). Some states allow for "living probate" and "ante mortem" probate, which are statutory provisions which authorize testators to institute an adversary proceeding during their life to declare the validity of the will, in order to avoid later will contests.

No-contest clause in New York

New York has rejected the "probable cause" defense to enforcement of such clauses. Such clauses are given full effect upon challenge. Some exceptions apply (e.g. Contest on ground of forgery or revocation by Later Will.)
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