Grounds for Contesting a Will

Posted in Will Contest on April 29, 2022

A person’s last will and testament is one of the most important documents that he or she could create. The will outlines the deceased’s final wishes for the disposal of his or her property and assets. When someone dies, an executor will carry out the terms of the will as it is written.

There are some cases where a will is not legally valid. In these situations, a family member may want to contest the terms of the will and have them changed. If you want to contest a will in Texas, you must have a valid reason for doing so.

Texas Requirements for a Legal Will

To create a will in Texas, you must be at least 18 years old, married, or a member of the military. You must write the will freely and voluntarily. You must also be of sound mind and memory, meaning that you understand the following facts.

  • You know what it means to make a will.
  • You understand the nature and extent of your relationships and your property.
  • You are capable of making reasonable judgments about the matters that are included in the will.

You will need to sign the will in the presence of at least two credible witnesses who are at least 14 years old. Additionally, the will must be in writing, either by hand or typed and printed. A digital PDF of a will is not considered valid. 

How to Contest a Will in Texas

To contest a will in Texas, you must have reason to believe that the will is not valid, and that the deceased, or the testator, would not have executed the will as it is written. There are several grounds for contesting a will, including, but not limited to, undue influence, fraud, and lack of testamentary capacity.

Undue Influence

In some cases, you may suspect that another person had undue influence over the making of the will. Undue influence occurs when another person coerces or pressures the deceased to create the document. 

To prove undue influence in Texas, you will need to show that someone exerted influence over the testator to the point where it overpowered his or her mind. As a result, the deceased executed a will that he or she would not have if not for undue influence.  

Fraud

In some cases, fraud is involved in the creation of a will. For example, a person may trick someone into signing a will that he or she did not write. A person could file a forged will in Texas court. Someone could have lied to the testator, leading him or her to make a critical decision about his or her assets.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

To legally create a will in Texas, a person must have testamentary capacity, or the mental competency to create the document. If the testator is not of sound mind and memory at the time of execution, the will is not valid. You could contest a will if you believe that your loved one did not understand the effect of making the will or the extent of his or her property and relationships.

Speak to a Texas Will Contest Attorney

A will contest can be a complex process and involve sensitive litigation. In these situations, you need a Texas will contest attorney on your side who can represent your best interests during this process and prove that the will is legally invalid.