If you are facing a will no contest clause in Arizona, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. This clause is designed to discourage beneficiaries from challenging the validity of a will, but it can also be used to unfairly limit your inheritance. Here’s what you need to know about challenging a will with a no contest clause in Arizona.
Understanding what a will no contest clause is.
A no contest clause, also known as an in terrorem clause, is a provision in a will that disinherits a beneficiary if they challenge the validity of the will. This clause is designed to discourage beneficiaries from contesting the will and to ensure that the testator’s wishes are carried out. However, these clauses can also be used to unfairly limit a beneficiary’s inheritance or to prevent them from raising legitimate concerns about the validity of the will. It’s important to understand the implications of a no contest clause and to seek legal advice if you are considering challenging a will or trust.
Grounds for challenging a will with a no contest clause in Arizona.
In Arizona, there are several grounds for challenging a no contest clause in a will. These include proving that the testator lacked mental capacity at the time the will was created, that the testator was unduly influenced by someone else when creating the will, or that the will was created under fraud or duress. It’s important to note that challenging a no contest clause can be a complex legal process, and it’s recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Filing a legal claim when there is a will no contest clause in Arizona.
Challenging a no contest clause in an Arizona will can be a complex legal process that requires careful consideration and planning. In Arizona, the Shaheen case held that you need probable cause for each and every legal claim. If you lacked probable cause for even a minor claim, then the no contest clause can be enforced against you.
Here are some ideas:
- File a petition with the court to invalidate the will or trust based on undue influence. That will allow you to conduct discovery, and bolster other possible claims. Then you can seek to amend the petition later after you have evidence for those other claims.
- File a petition for determination of probable cause.
- In your petition, say that you are only filing claims that do not violate the no contest clause and state that if any claim is determined to violate the no contest clause, then it should be disregarded. (I’ve only heard about doing this. I don’t know if this works in Arizona or any other state.)
- Have an independent attorney evaluate the case and give an opinion.
Regardless of how you proceed, you need an experienced probate litigation attorney who can review the will and advise you on your legal options. From there, you may need to gather evidence to support your claim, such as medical records or witness testimony. It’s important to remember that challenging a no contest clause can be a lengthy and costly process, so it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks before proceeding.
The potential consequences of challenging a no contest clause.
Challenging a will no contest clause in Arizona can have serious consequences, including the possibility of being disinherited entirely. If the court finds that you have violated the no contest clause, you may lose your inheritance and be left with nothing. Additionally, challenging a no contest clause can be a lengthy and expensive legal process, so it’s important to carefully consider your options and consult with an experienced attorney before proceeding.
Seeking legal assistance for navigating the complexities of challenging a no contest clause.
Bringing a legal claim when there is a will no contest clause in Arizona can be a complex and challenging process. It’s important to seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights. Your attorney can review the terms of the will, assess the strength of your case, and advise you on the best course of action. With the right legal representation, you can challenge a no contest clause and protect your inheritance.
Let Us Help You.
If you or someone you know is facing a legal challenge to a last will and testament or trust containing a no contest clause, it’s important to take immediate action. The consequences of a successful challenge can be significant, including the loss of a rightful inheritance, substantial legal fees, and prolonged court battles.
At our law firm, we have experience representing clients in these types of cases and can help guide you through the process. We understand the intricacies of estate planning law and can help you navigate the complexities of challenging a no contest clause.
Don’t let a poorly drafted or unfair no contest clause prevent you from receiving the inheritance you are entitled to. Contact our firm today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options. Our team of skilled attorneys is ready to fight for your rights and protect your interests.