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Probate

Agreement Not To Contest

A testator can enter into a contract with her or his heirs in which they agree not to contest a will. If the contract is supported by consideration—something of value—and the agreement is otherwise valid, the heirs will be prevented from contesting the will. The beneficiaries under a will and the heirs can enter into a valid contract not to contest a will. States vary as to the remedies a party to an agreement not to contest a will has upon breach. These include an INJUNCTION against the prosecution of the contest, an action at law for damages, or a defense to the contest.

An agreement among heirs and beneficiaries not to contest a will is a way to avoid a costly will contest proceeding. The heirs and beneficiaries negotiate a settlement that may defeat the intention of the testator in how the assets are distributed. A settlement will be valid if all interested parties agree, but it must not exclude anyone entitled to property under the will. Under some statutes the compromise or settlement must be submitted to the probate court for approval.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Prerogative orders to ProhibitionProbate - Probate Of A Will, Proceedings, Contested Probate Proceedings, Agreement Not To Contest, Further Readings - Guardianship of Minor Children, Right of Review