Adults eighteen years of age or older have the ability to make their own Will in Texas. The Will provides instructions as to who will receive their property upon their death. However, it is possible that the necessary formalities for creation of a Will in Texas were not followed or that other circumstances may be identified that create a question as to whether or not the terms of the Will should be followed. The Guerra | Days Law Group’s Houston probate attorneys can help determine if a Will contest is appropriate.
Who can contest a Will
Section 93 of the Texas Probate Code states that an interested party may institute a suit contesting the validity of a Will for any Will that has been admitted to probate within two years of the Will being admitted.
In any lawsuit, including a suit for Will contest, the person or persons bringing the suit must have standing. For purposes of Will Contest the Texas Estates Code defines an interested party as “an heir, devisee, spouse, creditor, or any other having a property right in or claim against an estate being administered; and anyone interested in the welfare of an incapacitated person, including a minor.”
In general terms an interested party can be described as someone who will gain a financial benefit through the Will contest if the Will is determined to be invalid. Our Houston Probate attorneys can help determine if you have standing to bring claims to contest a will.
Reasons for Contesting a Will
In addition to having standing to challenge a Will, an interested person must plead and prove the grounds on which they are contesting the Will. The grounds for a Will contest can be broken up into several categories. These grounds include but are not limited to issues related to improper execution, lack of testamentary capacity, and undue influence.
When the person creating the Will signs the document it has been executed. Prior to the execution of the Will and at the time of execution there are certain processes that must be followed according to Texas law. A failure to follow the processes by either the person creating the Will or witnesses to the Will can create issues that lead to a will contest.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity:
When the person creating the Will executes it, they must be of sound mind and have the required mental capacity to execute it. This means that they must have the ability to understand the types of property owned by them and who would typically have the right to inherit that property.
When the person creating the Will executes it, they must have done so of their own free will. Undue influence occurs when a person other than the creator of the Will uses feelings such as fear and intimidation to effect the creator of the Wills transfer of inheritance property.
Why Guerra | Days Law Group
Texas Probate process can be very complex. This is especially true when dealing with the intricacies of a Will contest. It is important that anyone that is considering a Will contest or is already involved in one contact a competent probate attorney. The Guerra | Days Law Group’s Houston probate attorneys have years of experience helping clients in these types of matters and are available to assist.