Reasons to Contest a Will
As experienced Lake Jackson, Brazoria County estate planning and probate attorneys, we explain some of the common reasons for contesting a will.
A will provides how your assets will be distributed in the event of your death. Flaws in the creation of your will and problems surrounding the circumstances in which it was signed are sometimes seen on wills downloaded from online and could open the door for it to be challenged. The following are among the most common reasons to contest a will.
Four Common Reasons for Contesting a Will
A will is one of the most basic, yet important estate planning documents. It conveys your final wishes in the event of your death, ensures your loved ones are provided for, and helps to avoid time consuming and potentially costly issues in probate proceedings.
If you die without a will in Lake Jackson, it is known as dying intestate. This means that instead of you designating beneficiaries, the Brazoria County Probate Court will follow the Texas Estates Code and determine who is entitled to inherit from your estate based on state laws. However, even if you do have a will, problems could arise in probate court proceedings if someone decides to contest, or challenge, your will. Four common reasons for contesting a will in Texas are:
The will fails to conform to state law.
Your will must conform with requirements under the Texas Estates Code. It must be in writing and signed either by the testator (the person on whose behalf the will is made), or by another person on their behalf, in their presence and under their direction. It must also be signed by two witnesses (who are at least 14 years of age) in the presence of the testator. These witnesses should be impartial parties who do not stand to inherit from the estate. Quite often the attorneys at our firm review wills that were downloaded from online that fail to meet all of the requirements from the Texas Estate Code. This can result in a complete failure of the will, a more costly probate or creating a situation that allows for the will to be contested.
The testator was unduly influenced or under duress when they signed the will.
The will must be an accurate representation of the testator’s final wishes. If they were unduly influenced by those who stood to profit from it or if they were forced, threatened, or otherwise coerced into signing the will, this is grounds for having it declared invalid in Texas.
The will was signed under fraudulent circumstances.
Fraud may involve misrepresentations in regard to signing a will, beneficiaries, or the amount of property and assets the testator possesses. Accusations of fraud are common in will contests.
The person creating the will lacked testamentary capacity.
The person creating the will must have testamentary capacity, meaning they are aware of what they are doing and the consequences of their actions. The will could be contested if they suffer from conditions, such as dementia, at the time of signing.
Contact Our Lake Jackson Wills and Probate Attorneys Today
At the Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, we protect the rights of you and your loved ones in creating wills and dealing with will contests in the probate court. To discuss how we can help in your case, contact our Brazoria County will and probate attorneys online and request a consultation today.