What Do I Have to Prove to Challenge a Will?
We've all seen a movie scene where a group of people anxiously await the reading of a will. These scenes typically involve a wealthy decedent and end with someone being left out or receiving a smaller inheritance than anticipated.
This scene also happens in everyday life, in estates of all sizes. When a potential heir believes he or she was left out of the will or shorted for an improper reason, the heir can challenge the validity of the will in probate litigation known as a will contest.
Will contest claims
There are many reasons a will may be contested, including:
- Lack of testamentary capacity. An heir may claim the deceased was not of sound mind at the time he or she executed the will.
- Undue influence. An heir may claim the deceased was pressured by another party into making the will or including certain terms in the will.
- Mistake or Fraud. An heir may argue that the deceased mistakenly signed the will or was tricked into signing it.
- Improperly executed. An heir may present evidence that the will was not executed in compliance with Texas law.
- Revoked. The heir contesting a will may claim that the deceased revoked the will prior to death by destroying the will or executing a newer will.
- Forgery. An heir may assert the deceased did not sign the will.
Under Texas law, only an interested person may contest a will. An interested person may be an heir, a spouse, a devisee, or any other person or entity who has a valid claim against the estate.
Call for help proving or defending against a will contest
A knowledgeable estate planning attorney at Peterson Law Group can help in all aspects of a contested will case, from helping establish reasons to challenge validity, to fending off claims of invalidity, as well as helping construct a will capable of withstanding challenges.
At Peterson Law Group, we understand that contesting a will or defending against a will contest occurs during an already difficult time. Make an appointment to discuss your situation with an experienced Bryan, Texas estate planning attorney at the Peterson Law Group. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.