Maybe one of your parents or your grandparents just died recently. They had always talked openly about their estate planning wishes, so you had specific expectations regarding your inheritance. Then, during the reading of their will, things just didn’t sound right.
They may have left most of their property to one person with no explanation or might have chosen to disinherit multiple family members without forewarning, including you. Those dealing with a surprise reduction or elimination of their inheritance may wonder if they can challenge the will their loved one left behind.
Is there anything at risk if you try to challenge the will in the North Carolina probate courts?
A challenge could affect your inheritance
Some people actually take certain steps to prevent their family members from challenging their wills. If the deceased party worried about a challenge to their estate and included a no-contest clause in their documents, the probate courts could strip you of your inheritance for bringing a challenge.
Unless you can show that you brought the challenge in good faith and that you had probable cause, the courts will likely uphold a penalty clause that may strip you of your inheritance for challenging the testator’s wishes.
A challenge can also diminish the estate assets. Litigating in probate court can take time and will cost money. Although you may not have to pay out-of-pocket, those expenses will diminish the assets in the estate and, therefore, what you inherit. Understanding the potential risks involved in a North Carolina will contest can help you make a good decision about whether or not to initiate probate litigation.