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Do the Nevada probate courts uphold no-contest clauses?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Estate Planning

The prospect of family members fighting over estate resources is a stressful idea for many Nevada testators. They don’t want the resources they earned to go to waste, and they don’t want their final legacy to be a massive family dispute that pits siblings and cousins against one another.

Those creating an estate plan usually want their loved ones to respect their final wishes. They imagine the family coming together to handle their estate, as opposed to the bequests they make tearing the family apart. Some testators take extra steps to help prevent conflict.

A testator may attempt to prevent family members from taking legal action against their estate. Litigation in probate court can significantly reduce the total value of the estate and also increase how long people must wait to receive their inheritances.  Many testators intentionally try to avoid scenarios in which their beneficiaries might initiate probate litigation.

The right plan can make all the difference

Naming someone capable as a personal representative can help reduce the conflict that arises during estate administration. Many probate lawsuits relate to unethical or incompetent people serving as the personal representative of an estate. Testators can also prevent disappointment and frustration with an estate plan by disclosing their wishes to loved ones while they are still healthy. Sometimes, testators decide that they want to add no-contest clauses to their documents to prevent people from challenging their wills.

Do the Nevada courts enforce no-contest clauses during probate proceedings?

The courts can enforce no-contest clauses

In most states, no-contest clauses are enforceable in most circumstances. That is certainly true in Nevada. State statutes and court precedents establish an expectation that probate judges should strictly construe and uphold no-contest clauses.

Should someone try to undermine the validity of estate planning documents, a no-contest clause might strip them of their inheritance or at least significantly diminish what they receive from the estate. Unless someone brings a challenge against the actions of the personal representative of the estate or attempts to enforce their rights under the existing estate planning documents, they could lose their inheritance if they initiate probate litigation.

Anyone with an interest in a Nevada estate may benefit from understanding how the courts handle these special clauses. Adding the right terms to an estate plan can help someone achieve their legacy goals, and understanding state law related to estate plan litigation can benefit those who are worried about their inheritances.