Florida does not recognize “No Contest” clauses in wills.

Florida does not recognize “No Contest” clauses in wills.

Sometimes people want to put in a “no contest” or “in terrorem” clause in a Florida will. A no contest clause says that if someone who is a beneficiary under the will challenges the will or challenges some provision of a will, that person gets nothing; it is designed to intimidate someone into accepting a will.
Florida does not recognize these provisions in a will and explicitly declares them unenforceable.
Florida Statutes 732.517
Likewise, for those trusts created on or after Oct 1 1993, any clause penalizing someone for contesting the trust is likewise unenforceable; and the statute defines a revocable trust as being “created” on the date that it becomes irrevocable, so even if a revocable trust was created before that date, if it was still revocable on or after that date, it is still subject to the provision. Florida Statutes 736.1108
Nonetheless, I do occasionally see these clauses in Florida wills; usually the wills are drafted by a non lawyer; typically either a do it yourself will, or created by some sort of software , or a paralegal; very occasionally by a Florida attorney. I would suppose there might be an advantage to using such a clause, if the beneficiary doesn’t know enough to consult a lawyer they might be sufficiently intimidated by it to not question the clause, but personally I do not like putting what I know to be unenforceable clauses in a will.
Really, if you want to prevent someone from challenging a will in Florida, the only real way of doing it is to make sure you leave them enough money so they don’t feel compelled to challenge it.

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