Probate Lawyer Alexandria, LA
The death of a family member does not always bring the family together in a loving way. In some cases, after a person dies, dividing his property in various proportions to family members, problems arise with the family members unhappy with the assets they receive in relation to other family members. This can result in a challenge to the will but the unhappy family members. Disagreements as to the authenticity of a will can tie up a family in Louisiana courts for years and can threaten to change the plans the deceased had in mind in making a will. A probate lawyer in Alexandria, LA can explain what options you may have to avoid this situation in your family.
Even valid wills that are seemingly well drafted can be contested in court by a person with what is legally referred to as standing; this is usually a family member or heir. To ensure that their wishes are honored after death and family members do not end up contesting the will in court, some people choose to include no contest or in terrorem clauses in their wills. A no-contest clause generally states that a person who receives property or assets as part of an inheritance set out in a will loses that share of his inheritance if he challenges the will in court and loses.
In order to be able to place such a restriction on a potential heir, the person leaving the property has to leave the potential heir something in the will. That is, the heir has to receive something through the will that would have to be given up if he contested the will. As an Alexandria, LA probate lawyer can explain, in most cases, the thing the potential heir may lose in contesting the will also has to be valuable enough that the gamble of challenging the will and losing everything is not worth it to the potential heir.
No contest clauses are enforceable in Louisiana, however, courts do not favor them, and so they are interpreted very strictly. Not all cases in which wills are contested are a result of disgruntled family members; the law does allow a challenge in cases where the challenge is based on good faith. With such claims, courts sometimes decide that the no-contest clause is not enforceable. The circumstances of each particular case determine what would constitute good faith.
Let Us Assist You
If you have heirs that you anticipate will go against your wishes as to how your estate is distributed after you pass, and you want to ensure that they cannot do so, you should start by ensuring you have a good estate plan in place. In order to discuss how else you can plan your estate to ensure that your wishes are followed, and your loved ones are taken care of after your death. Call Theus Law Offices to schedule a consultation with an Alexandria, LA probate lawyer.