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What to know about contesting a will in Texas

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Probate

When someone passes away, their will should carry out their wishes regarding the distribution of their belongings and assets. However, sometimes disagreements arise during the probate process.

Contesting a will in Texas can be complex, but understanding some key points can help when navigating this challenging situation.

Who can contest and time limits

Only certain individuals have legal standing to challenge a will. This includes anyone who might have a rightful claim, such as beneficiaries named in a previous will. Another example would be those who would have inheritance rights under Texas law if there were no will. Creditors may also bring a claim if there is an outstanding debt.

Generally, a will contest must occur within two years of the date the will enters probate. Waiting too long may result in the court dismissing the claim.

Reasons for contesting

One common reason for contesting a will is alleging that the testator lacked testamentary capacity at the time he or she created the document. This means they did not fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Another basis for contesting is undue influence. This occurs when someone exerts pressure or coercion on the testator to create a will that benefits them unfairly.

A belief someone deceived the testator into signing a will under false pretenses can be grounds to contest. Such situations may include misrepresenting the contents of the will, forging the testator’s signature or withholding important information.

Additionally, the will must meet the legal requirements of Texas to be valid, such as the testator signing the will in his or her handwriting. It is possible to make a claim of improper execution for documents that do not meet the requirements.

Contesting a will can be emotionally and financially draining. However, it may be the only way to ensure the honoring of a loved one’s wishes after their death.