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No-Contest Clauses, Validity

No-contest clauses are frequently used in trusts and wills to prevent lawsuits challenging the validity of a will or trust. They typically provide that if someone challenges the document that the challenger is automatically disinherited.

No-contest clauses are strictly enforced without regard to any exception based upon the good faith and/or probable cause of the contestant. Cox v. Fisher, 322 S.W.2d 910, 913 (Mo. 1959). They must, however, be valid. Accordingly, if a will or trust is invalid or voided for any reason — usually for testamentary incapacity or undue influence — the clauses within the document, including a no-contest clause, are of no effect and unenforceable. Ivie v. Smith, 439 S.W.3d 189, 199 (Mo. 2014).

Contact with questions about probate litigation and/or trust litigation.