This post is part 6 in our 7-part series on the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling in Hunter v. Hunter (Record No. 190260). Today we focus on the opinion’s discussion of the concept of a no contest clause “seeking to seal the courthouse doors to a litigant.” You can find parts 1-5 of the series at the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
In the Hunter opinion, the Virginia Supreme Court stated: “To begin, we have never addressed (much less approved) a no-contest provision seeking to seal the courthouse doors to a litigant seeking an interpretation (rather than an invalidation) of a trust or will provision.” The Court proceeded to cite an array of secondary sources that criticize such a practice. The Court stated in Hunter that it did not need to technically resolve that question to rule in the case. That said, the citations and tone appear to indicate that the Court would look highly skeptically on any effort by a litigant to try to use a no contest clause to wholly prohibit judicial interpretation of a will or trust provision.
CONTINUE READING . . .