No Contest Clauses

People often misunderstand what a "no contest clause" can do.  I have had beneficiaries of trusts come to my office and complain that they cannot question the trustee's actions because of a no contest clause in the trust document.  In California, this is not true.  The Probate Code on no contest clauses is a little complicated, but its purpose is to discourage people from questioning whether the trustor--the person who created the trust--knew what he was doing when he signed the trust.  If you think your grandfather Thomas was bamboozled by your cousin Luke into giving Luke more money in the trust, you may want to challenge the trust when your Thomas dies.  If there is a no contest clause in the trust, you [...]