The first thing that you should do is to contact an experienced Louisiana estate litigation lawyer. An attorney can help sort out the often complicated legal aspects of being left out of a parent's will that also contains a no contest clause.
Why a No Contest Clause Is Relevant
A no contest clause prevents an heir from inheriting anything if the heir contests the will. However, the terms of a no contest clause may vary from will to will. For example, the will may refer to "named legatees," which refers to people specifically named in the will; or it may cite "heirs," which may include potential heirs not specifically named in the will. Typically, the courts will interpret the no contest clause as written. Other evidence of the testator's intent may only be presented if the language of the will is ambiguous.
You May Have Inheritance Options
An attorney will carefully examine all aspects of your mother's will, other testamentary documents, and Louisiana law to determine if there is a pathway to your inheritance. For example:
- The language of the no contest clause may allow you to contest the will and inherit from your mother.
- You may be a forced heir. In Louisiana, a child under the age of 24 or who is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that they cannot care for themselves is a forced heir unless an exception to the law applies. A forced heir may not be denied an inheritance.
- Your mother may have provided for you through a trust, life insurance policy, or other means.
- There may be other legal strategies that your attorney identifies and uses to help you get the inheritance you deserve.
We encourage you to contact our New Orleans estate litigation attorneys as soon as possible to learn more about your rights. It is often easier and more cost-effective to resolve disputes before a succession is settled. Each year, we help hundreds of heirs throughout Louisiana, and we are here to provide you with the honest case review you need to move forward.