How can I contest a will in Texas?
How can I contest a will in Texas? Although adults always have the ability to create their own will and/or trust—as well as other estate planning documents—there can be certain circumstances when the will process was not properly completed, and the will can be challenged. When a person challenges a will, he or she is, in essence, claiming the will is invalid.
Under Texas law, any interested person is allowed to contest a will. The term “interested person” is defined as a creditor, spouse, devisee, or heir, as well as any other person who has property rights or claims against the estate being administered. The person who chooses to contest a will must clearly show that he or she is an interested person with proper standing to contest the will.
If you are considering having a will prepared, you may want to include a forfeiture clause or a no-contest clause. This is a provision that states that the person who contests the will, receives nothing. Courts do not typically favor forfeiture clauses, and no-contest clauses are strictly construed.
To challenge a will in the state of Texas, a person must have one of the following grounds to do so:
- The original will was revoked;
- There is a lack of mental capacity by the person making the will;
- The will was improperly executed;
- There was undue influence on the person making the will;
- There was fraud involved in the preparation of the will, or
- The Will was made by mistake.
A will must be contested prior to probate. If the will has already been admitted to probate, a contest must be filed within two years of the date the will was admitted to probate. Once the will has been admitted to probate, the person contesting the will has the burden of establishing the will is invalid.