How to Contest a Will in Texas
Contesting a will is very uncommon, and unless you have very good cause the challenge will not hold up in probate court. If you believe that it is necessary to contest a will, then, you need to work with a College Station probate attorney who will fight for your rights.
Why Wills Are Difficult to Successfully Challenge
A will is the last testament of the decedent. Since the deceased cannot represent himself in court it is necessary to rely on documents that best indicate his final wishes. A probate court will therefore require a valid and compelling reason to nullify a will. Your College Station probate attorney will help you in your challenge, but keep in mind that the court will only consider a handful of reasons as valid:
- Age of the Decedent: The person who wrote the will must be at least 18 years of age. A few exceptions to this exist, such as if the youth is legally emancipated or has married. Age is rarely considered in contesting a will.
- The Mental Capacity to Make Decisions: The decedent must have been of sound mind when writing the will. A challenge on the grounds that he was not of sound mind will need to show one of the following: 1) He did not understand that he was creating a will or did not know what a will is; 2) He did not comprehend whom he should provide for; 3) He had no understanding of his estate, that is, what he owned; 4) He was not able, due to his diminished mental state, to decide how to distribute his estate.
- Undue Influence or Coercion: The will can be successfully contested if it is found that the decedent was coerced into writing it, or if some form of fraud occurred.
The Procedure for Contesting a Will
If you do feel that you have valid grounds for contesting a will, Texas law requires that you are an interested party, which is defined as a spouse, heir, creditor, or other individual who has a claim against the estate.
You will need to file a motion “Opposition to Probate Proceedings” in the circuit court where the will is being probated. You will then be called to the court to present your case to the probate judge. It is useful to have witnesses who can testify in support of your motion. The judge will then render a decision.
If You Wish to Contest a Will
While successfully contesting a will is no easy matter, it is not impossible. It is advisable that you work with an experienced College Station probate attorney. Call Peterson Law Group to arrange a consultation: 979-703-7014.