Should You Contest a Will Under Texas Law?
It can be a difficult decision as to whether to let someone succeed in causing an unjust will to be given legal effect or to assert your legal rights so that you are treated fairly under the law. While the attorneys do all the legal work, the parties to a will contest still have an important role to play as part of the attorney-client team.
If you believe that a proposed will is not what the deceased person intended, you may be able to contest the will in a probate court. However, one must have a good faith basis to file a will contest. The legally recognized reasons to file such a contest are as follows:
- No testamentary capacity. The person making the will must have the required testamentary capacity to understand what he or she is doing. This involves having an understanding of their assets, the effect of making a will, who their family members are and being able to hold those thoughts in their mind at the time they are signing their will. The person making the will needs to understand who their beneficiaries are and the amount of gifts they are to receive.
- Undue Influence. Undue Influence occurs when a person causes another to write a will favoring that person and causes a different result from what he or she would have written without the undue influence. Undue influence happens with caretakers as well as family members, and can include causing a larger or smaller share to be provided to certain beneficiaries as well as the complete exclusion of certain family members who were historically included as beneficiaries.
- Forged will. A forged will occurs not only when another person signs a will with the intent that others believe that it was signed by the person in whom the will is made, but also when an elderly person is given a document to sign, and signs it believing it to be something else besides a will.
In any case, the best next step is to reach out for a consultation. Our friendly, Dallas-based probate attorneys can advise you on whether or not the facts and law warrant perhaps considering a will contest, dispute, or even litigation.