You’ve made your will, and you’ve created a full-proof estate plan. What next? Have you considered what happens if your will is contested? Contesting a will refers to a person, usually a family member, who declares they deserve more of your property than another beneficiary. Loved ones and other beneficiaries can disagree or contest a will for months or even years due to a poorly written or nonexistent will. Our probate attorneys in McAllen explain the process of a contested will.
Challenging a Will
According to the Texas Estates Code, Section 256.204 it states that “after a will has been admitted to probate, any interested person may commence a suit to contest the validity thereof not later than the second anniversary of the date the will was admitted to probate…
The person challenging the will must prove that they have legal authority. Common grounds for contesting a will include the following:
- Wrongful Execution
- improper influence
- fraudulent persuasion
- The deceased failed to create a valid will.
You need standing in order to effectively contest a will. If the result of contesting a will is likely to personally affect that person or entity, then they have standing to do so.
If you have standing proof if you are:
- a recipient specified in the will
- a trustee specified in the will (if you represent an entity such as a bank or charity)
- Uncontested heir (a person who is eligible to inherit from an estate when the decedent did not write a will)
When Probate Ends
The Texas Statute of Limitations states that you have two years from the day the will is admitted to probate—not the date the decedent passed away—is when you can contest a will. States set a deadline for contesting a will so that the estate of the decedent can be dispersed as soon as possible.
Additional details regarding the deadline for contesting a will include:
- Prior to the will being accepted for probate.
- Following the will’s admission to probate.
- After another will has been admitted to probate and a new will is discovered
What Makes a Valid Will?
Both holographic and certified wills are recognized as legitimate wills in Texas.
- A handwritten Will is a holographic Will. A holographic will must be entirely written in the testator’s handwriting and bare his or her signature in order to be considered legal.
- A will that has been attested is one that is not entirely written in the testator’s handwriting. It must be in writing, signed by the testator or another person acting under the testator’s instructions and in the testator’s presence, and at least two reliable witnesses must also sign it there.
Don’t go Through a Contest Will Alone, Choose our Probate Attorneys in McAllen
Our probate attorneys in McAllen can help you through this process. We understand the delicacy of dealing with loved ones in court, and are highly experienced in contested wills. Contact us today for a free consultation.