A last will and testament or “will” is an important legal document because it tells the family, loved ones, friends and governing bodies what the person wanted to happen after their death. While most of the time a will accurately reflects what the testator- or maker of the will- wanted, this is not always the case. A will becomes effective once the testator dies and it is admitted to Texas probate. Simply because a will was signed and dated or even witnessed does not mean it is valid. There are four main reasons a Texas will may not be valid and may need to be contested.
4 solid reasons for contesting a Texas will
Generally speaking you may want to contest the will if you know or suspect any of four events. These are:
- Testamentary capacity: Was the person of sound mind when they made the will?
- Undue influence: Did a caregiver, friend or family member exert pressure on and have power over the person while they made their will?
- Fraud: Did a someone close to the testator use false statements to cause the testator to change the will to that person’s benefit? Was there legal noncompliance?
- Forgery:Did someone other than the testator sign the will? Was there a lack of due execution?
If you suspect that the will is not really what the testator intended, that the testator was not in their right mind (incapacitated), or that the testator was pressured to make changes or to include or exclude a beneficiary, these are grounds for a will contest.
Steps to take to contest a Texas will
As per the Texas Estates Code, anyone with a financial stake in the will can contest it. Once you have determined that one of the four events above have happened, your first step is to contact an attorney who handles Texas will contests and litigation. Your attorney will guide you through the process.