The Texas Supreme Court has decided to take a look at this very question.
No-contest in a will are designed used to protect the wishes of the will maker.
As part of a legal document, they are binding.
Are there exceptions?
There may even be loopholes.
According to a JD Supra article titled “Texas Supreme Court Accepts A Case Dealing With A No-Contest Clause,” the Texas Supreme Court has accepted a case to address this issue.
In the (2015) case, the beneficiary (the will maker's daughter) sued the executors and testamentary trustees (her brother's) for breach of fiduciary duty and sought temporary injunctive relief, accounting and a receiver.
Originally, the court threw it out based on the no-contest clause in the will.
Since then, as commonly happens, the case has been making its way up the appellate circuit.
The inheritance of the beneficiary is at stake.
Did the challenge actually trigger the no-contest clause?
If it triggered the clause, then the beneficiary would forfeit her inheritance in the will.
What reasons are being given for each option?
The trustees argue that the right of the beneficiary to inherit is contingent on full acceptance of the terms of the will.
The beneficiary claims her actions did not fall specifically within the terms of the clause.
The court will be looking at Texas Estate Code § 254.005.
What does this code say?
Actions brought and maintained in good faith when there is a just cause will not be subject to the no-contest clause.
The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear this case in March.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
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Reference: JD Supra (January 20, 2017) “Texas Supreme Court Accepts A Case Dealing With A No-Contest Clause”