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Can You Contest Your Parent's Will In Texas?

The death of a parent is hard to embrace and move past. But when you have doubts about the validity of their will, this can be even more overwhelming and difficult to accept. If you have concerns, you have options. Under Texas law, you may have a legal right to contest your parent's will. Discover whether you have grounds to take legal action and how to move forward.

Grounds to Contest

Contesting a will requires more than a sense of disappointment. You must have a useable reason to contest the validity of the will for the courts to hear the complaint. Here are some of the valid reasons to contest a will.

Mental Incapacity

A will testator should understand the purpose of the document and be free of any medical conditions that affect their thought process. You may have grounds to contest if you believe your loved one didn't have the mental capacity to prepare a will.

But you do need evidence to back up your claim. Medical records, statements from their healthcare providers, and witness testimony can all help prove incapability on the part of your loved one.

Undue Influence

Will changes should be voluntary. Undue influence occurs when a person pressures someone else to change the distribution of their will to suit themselves. Undue influence is grounds to contest a will, but this can be a hard claim to prove.

If the person you accuse of the act had a relationship with your loved one, you must show that your loved one did not make the changes at their own will. This level of proof is hard to fulfill without testimony from the deceased.

Improper Execution

A set of predetermined formalities predict how a will must be prepared. When a will is not drafted based on these guidelines, it may not be valid. For instance, a will must include signatures from two credible witnesses, per Texas law.

A credible witness is someone who does not have an interest in the estate. A family member listed as a witness who is also due to inherit property would give you grounds to contest. Keep in mind that a single inaccuracy in the drafting of a will can call its validity into question.

Legal Actions

You have a correct way to go about the process if you believe you have grounds to contest your loved one's will. Learn how you should move forward.

Time Guidelines

You have two years from the date the will is admitted into probate to contest a will in the state of Texas. The law considered a will admitted once you provide a copy of the document to the county clerk's office.

Legal Counsel

You may contest a will without an attorney, but the aid of legal counsel is highly advised. Grounds alone may not be enough to win your case. Presenting the facts in the most believable and easy to understand way is just as important. An attorney will review the facts and organize your argument accordingly.

Interested Party

Discovery of wrongdoing during the drafting of a will does not give a person the right to file a complaint. The person must be an interested party. Spouses, children, creditors, and any other person who stands to benefit from the estate fall into the realm of an interested party. 

You have a duty to protect your parent's interests, even when they are no longer with you. If you have a concern about your parent's will, act on your instinct. For all your probate concerns, contact the office of Paula D Perez, Attorney At Law. We're here to help.