Wills are typically drafted and amended with the guidance of an experienced attorney. However, errors can occur even under professional supervision. When this happens, a will may no longer be valid and can be contested. Here are the three most common reasons to challenge a will in Texas.
Testamentary capacity refers to the mental capability of the person who drafted or amended the will. If this person was fully aware and could make rational decisions when they created or revised their will, then the will is valid. However, if they lacked this testamentary capacity, then the will may be invalid.
Another challenge to the validity of a will comes from a manipulative influence. If the testator was unduly influenced by an outside force, then the will likely does not reflect their true wishes. In this case, the will may be invalid because of the manipulation or threat that contributed to its creation.
Further, another reason to challenge a will in Texas is when there is a failure of due execution. In Texas, there are certain rules that, when not followed, make a will invalid. This can include a failure of the testator to sign the document or the lack of a witness. Essentially, any technical error during a will’s execution can make a will invalid.
If you decide to challenge a will in Texas, then you must determine if you qualify as an interested party. Under Texas Probate Code, only an interested party can file a formal lawsuit disputing a will’s validity. Interested parties may consist of any of the following:
Lastly, you should know that the statute of limitations for disputing a will in Texas is two years. The statute of limitations takes effect once the will enters probate. Therefore, you should obtain legal representation as quickly as possible after the testator has passed away. An attorney can help you determine if a will should be challenged. He or she can also help you develop an argument for overturning a will that can hold up in court.
Whether you are the one challenging a will or defending it, you will likely need legal help. Of course, the best way to avoid a dispute is to carefully draft the initial will with an estate planning attorney. In all of these cases, Sheehan Law, PLLC can help. To learn more about our services, schedule a consultation with our attorneys. Contact us by phone at (512) 355-0155 or through our confidential contact form.