It is not uncommon for family members to feel shock and dismay when the will of a loved one in Lee County, Florida is read. Maybe they were expecting to inherit more of the estate, or maybe they were left out completely. These people may be inclined to contest the will.
Before any probate litigation measures are taken, it is important to find out if the will or trust has a "no-contest" clause. If it does, anyone who contests it may be at risk of having their inheritance reduced or being disinherited altogether.
This is the case for one woman who contested the trust her father set up before his death. Her father was a millionaire and had indicated before his death that he would like his six children to each have an equal share of his trust fund. He also placed a no contest clause in the trust, apparently as an added safety precaution to ensure that the trust would be divided how he wished.
When one of his daughters filed a lawsuit that challenged the trust's terms, she violated the no-contest clause. As a result, the probate court ruled that she would be disinherited.
The woman appealed to the Supreme Court in her state, claiming that she did not break the terms of the no-contest clause. The state Supreme Court sided with the probate court and ruled against her.
When so much is on the line, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer who can discuss the terms of a trust or will before you decide to contest it. Doing so can ensure that you do not lose everything you stand to inherit.
Source: The Telegraph, "Supreme court rules against former Tamposi heir cut out of late developer's trust," Patrick Meighan, Feb. 1, 2013