When drafting a Will, one must always consider the possibility that a beneficiary (or someone who expected to be a beneficiary) may be dissatisfied with their inheritance or disgruntled because they did not receive an inheritance. This is called a contest.
When someone contests a Will, it means that they disagree with the terms of the Will either because they have a competing version of the Will, they think the Will was forged or signed under duress, or they otherwise disagree with the distributions to the beneficiaries designated in the Will.
A “no contest” clause means that if anyone named in the Will contests the terms of their distribution, they are prohibited from receiving anything at all. The ‘no contest’ clause is used as a deterrent to probate litigation based on these types of disagreements. This clause must be carefully crafted to comply with state law but can be very powerful if properly drafted.
An Executor is the person designated to manage the deceased’s affairs as the Will is probated by the local county court. Almost every Will is overseen by the probate court and the Executor is responsible for gathering all the decedent’s assets, paying all the debts, and distributing whatever is left. All of this is overseen by the probate court and the executor must report to the court and/or get the court’s approval for certain actions.