It sometimes happens that disappointed heirs will use the legal system for their own gain and sometimes vengeful purposes. If so, those who do bring unfounded disruptive litigation against their parent=s will and trust sometimes succeed because the will and trust do not have penalty clauses built in to discourage this type of litigation.
Oklahoma permits an individual making a will to disinherit anyone (except a spouse cannot be totally disinherited), including a child and grandchildren. Oklahoma law also permits a less than full share portion to be left to a child or grandchild. There are special ways to word the will and trust. An experienced will and trust attorney will know how and when to use the language.
A penalty clause would prohibit anyone who files a suit or files an objection to your will or trust from receiving any benefit. A clause like this is sometimes referred to as a No Contest Clause, or if you like Latin, an In Terrorem Clause. These clauses work best when coupled with a bequest left to a problem individual. The idea is that you leave them something. Enough that it would make the individual think twice before going forward with an objection.
An objection can take many forms, but usually it will be incompetency or undue influence. Incompetency is very hard to prove. If an individual knows his or her immediate family members, knows in a general way what property he or she has, and understands the dispositive provisions of the will or trust, they are competent to make a will or trust in Oklahoma. Undue influence is not really possible if any experience will and trust attorney is used to prepare and have the will and trust executed. Steps will be taken to make sure what goes in the will and trust are what is wanted by the individual and not what is wanted by a third party.
Fighting a will or trust contest can be a very challenging event. It should be handled by an experienced will, trust and probate attorney. Selecting the right attorney to work with can make the process a lot easier and more successful. If you need an attorney, contact Brent D. Coldiron, attorney at law, 1800 E. Memorial Road, Suite 106, Oklahoma City, OK 73131 or 2801 Parklawn Drive, Suite 503, Midwest City, OK 73110; telephone (405) 478-5655 and (405) 737-2244. Brent has over 44 years experience handling a variety of legal matters, including probates, will, trusts, business formation, elder law, Medicaid qualification for nursing home care, protection from Medicaid Spend Down, corporations and guardianships. Give Brent a call, he knows what to do!