According to Texas Probate Code Section 93, an interested party can legally dispute a will’s validity by filing a formal lawsuit. Under the code, an individual only has 2 years to contest a will. In this particular situation, the clock begins to run towards the statue of limitations after the will has been admitted into probate.
There are four main reasons why an interested party would want to contest a Texas will:
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Undue Influence
- Due execution
- Other noncompliance with Texas law
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Lack of Testamentary Capacity
Testamentary capacity is the legal term describing a person’s legal ability to make or alter a valid will. Testamentary capacity becomes an issue when someone claims that the testator – the person who made the will – did not understand what was happening.
Examples of this include:
- The testator did not understand they were signing a will
- No comprehension of what property is being willed away
- No comprehension of who is receiving the property
Undue influence is exactly as it sounds – someone placing influence on the will maker and inappropriately swaying the decisions of the will maker. Undue influence is tested by examining if the testator made a will different than they normally would have. Undue influence in estate planning can be difficult to prove because the will maker is often unavailable to be in court answering questions concerning influences during the will-making process.
Execution of a will takes place when the creator signs the document. There are specific steps and formalities that must occur under Texas law. If these are not followed, lack of due execution is a reason to contest a will in Texas. Lack of a witness or a missing signature are examples of missed steps in the will execution process.
Other Noncompliance Issues
Wills can be complex legal documents. The depth of the assets can further complicate a will, along with the number of heirs and size of the assets. There are many intricacies to a will in Texas, and an experienced legal team can dissect a will for all the proper legal characteristics.
Get Help To Contest A Will
When you need to contest a will in Texas, it is best that the interested party use the services of a Houston probate litigation attorney. These types of legal proceedings require an extensive amount of evidence and arguments. With the aid of a Houston probate attorney, the interested party will be able to show that they have the right to sue and have a valid reason for contesting the will.
An individual that decides to contest will likely meet a large amount of friction from other heirs. This is why it is important that a Houston probate attorney be used to protect and fight for the legal rights of the interested party.
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With over 20 years of legal experience, Keith Morris has devoted his efforts to sharpening his skills in probate, trust, and estate planning and litigation.