When someone prepares a will in advance for their loved ones’ sake, it minimizes the chances of inheritance-related disputes. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that there will be no contestants, or people willing to challenge the will’s validity. If you need help contesting a will, speak with a Houston estate lawyer near you.
Texas estate laws allow interested persons to contest a will after probate, through two primary options. The first way is to put forward a challenge on the person tasked with administering or executing the will, while the second involves contesting the provisions or contents of the will.
Who Can Contest a Will?
While interested persons can contest a will in court, there are certain requirements they have to meet. An interested person may be an heir, spouse, devisee, or any other entity that has a legal right to claim part of the deceased’s estate, like a creditor.
Before you can file a will contest, you’ll have to prove that you have the standing to do so—meaning that you meet the above definition. After this, the contestant then presents their valid reasons or grounds for contesting the will.
This is usually the point where the process can get complicated. Having legal support will go a long way in achieving a favorable outcome for you.
What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will in Texas?
The state of Texas recognizes the following claims as valid grounds for contesting a will:
Revocation –Contesting a will based on revocation means that the deceased had revoked the will either through a physical act like tearing, signing a declaration, or drafting another will. In that case, the contestant has to present the recent will.
Improper Execution – The state has a set of requirements that a will has to meet to be deemed valid. Using this basis will require proof that the will was not properly executed.
Lack of Capacity – Was the decedent in their right legal capacity during the time of making the will? Any will prepared by a person who lacks capacity, including substance use, might be termed invalid in Texas.
Undue Influence – The contestant’s burden is to show that the deceased was under pressure from someone, such as a family member or professional caregiver, to draft the will as it stands.
Fraud – Here, the basis is that fraud and forgery were involved when the deceased made the will.
Get Legal Support from an Estate Attorney in Texas
When it comes to contesting a will, you’ll need a well-supported reason to present in court. Having a wills attorney from the beginning is your best bet to successfully contest a will. A lawyer will first check if you meet the criteria and, if so, evaluate the possible grounds you could use and represent you in court.
To speak with an experienced wills attorney from The Curry Law Firm, call our offices at 713-678-0013 or send us a message through our online contact form.