One of the reasons we advocate for the creation of an estate plan as soon as possible is to avoid infighting amongst your beneficiaries while promoting the terms you have spelled out. It’s extremely important that your terms are executed in the manner most important to you. Yet, in order to do so, start considering a few of our tips below to avoid having your will contested.
Start planning for the future today by calling our McAllen probate lawyers.
Take Care of Things Today
The best time to start your estate planning is when you have a clear goal in mind. The last thing you want is to be questioned at a later date regarding what you’ve arranged in your plan. One of the best ways to avoid a contested will is to periodically update it. Before doing this, though, you have to take a step back and know how to start. If you’re still not clear on what you’re supposed to do, call us and schedule a consultation on our estate planning services.
The “No-Contest Clause”
The no-contest clause (also called the in terrorem clause) is a small provision that you can include in your will or trust. It states that a beneficiary who files a lawsuit to challenge your decision will receive nothing if they lose. This can be a powerful tactic against someone who feels they are receiving less than what they feel should be owed.
What Does Texas Law Say?
In Texas, there are six deadlines for contesting a will and they depend on certain circumstances. Texas law also requires that only named beneficiaries be given a notice when a will is in probate. Those who aren’t will not even know that the process has begun. When can an estate plan be contested in Texas? Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Before Probate – This is when the estate enters probate and the executor and beneficiaries will have to prove that a will is valid and that a testator was of sound mind when it was drafted.
- After Probate – Once probate begins with a hearing and the court declares a will to be valid, then there is a two-year window where it can be contested.
- Fraud or Forgery – One of the exceptions to the two-year window mentioned above is if a will has been proved to be forged or fake.
- A Second Will – Every now and then when a will is drafted, another may spring up that was also left by the testator. If the new will contains a date after the one that was admitted, then there is a four-year window to submit it to probate and challenge the first.
- Heirs that Are Unaware – A testator’s children have four years after probate to make a claim if they were unaware that they were entitled to receiving a testator’s personal belongings.
- Heirs that Are Incapacitated – If an heir is incapacitated and unable to contest a will as a result, then they will be granted an additional two years (after the two-year probate period) to contest once they regain capacity.
Start Preparing Today
Estate planning is an important step in preventing headaches down the road when it comes to deciding how your personal belongings will be distributed after your passing. Our probate lawyers in McAllen are knowledgeable in the methods surrounding this legal field. We’ll help you figure out the best solution to ensure that your wishes are upheld, so call or visit us today!