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Will Contest or “In Terrorem” Clauses

Estate and trust disputes may take months or years to resolve, with litigation costs consuming a huge part of the estate. This frustrates the whole purpose of your estate plan, and diminishes the benefits that will pass to the persons you care about.
Massachusetts law allows you to put language in your will so that anyone contesting the will or any of its provisions will forfeit all rights and benefits under the will.
Heirs who are specifically excluded from any benefit under a will may decide there is nothing to lose by filing a challenge to the will in court. However, if those same heirs are designated to receive a specific benefit under the will, they must consider whether filing a claim is worth the risk of losing the benefit.
There is no way to guarantee that a will or trust will avoid all possible challenges or disputes, but a well-drafted In Terrorem clause can make potential challengers think twice before filing a claim and improve the likelihood that the will can be filed and processed as you plan.
Our estate planning lawyers are located in Franklin, MA and serve the Greater Boston MetroWest region and the neighboring towns of Bellingham, Milford, Upton, Hopedale, Holliston, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norwood, Walpole, Sharon, Foxborough, Wrentham, Easton, Mansfield, Norton, Raynham, Tauton, Attleboro, Seekonk, Rehoboth, Uxbridge, and Whitinsville.