In Texas, any “interested” person may contest the probate of a will. An interested person is defined as heirs, devisees, spouses, or any other person or entity who possess a property right in or claim against the estate.
To contest a Will, the contesting party files what is called a “will contest” alleging one or more grounds that make the will invalid. Generally, a will contest must be filed within two years after it has been admitted to probate.
The grounds on which you can contest a will in Texas include the following:
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity – If the testator did not have sufficient “testamentary capacity” at the time the will was executed, then the will is considered void.
- Lack of Due Execution – There are specific statutory formalities which must be met when executing a will, such as not having been properly signed or witnessed.
- Revocation by Physical Act – The testator may revoke a will by some physical act, including tearing the will to pieces.
- Undue Influence – The will may be challenged if the testator executed the will due to undue influence, such one child pressuring the testator to sign a will and leaving the other children with nothing.
- Revocation by Subsequent Instrument – The testator may revoke a will by executing another document which substitutes as a will or signing a document which declares that he or she is revoking the will.
- Fraud – This includes substituting pages after the will was signed or forging the testator’s or witnesses’ signatures.
- Fraud in the Inducement – Changes on a will based on lies told to the testator by another person.
- Mistake – Testator didn’t know he or she was signing a will.
If you are interested in contesting a will, contact Dossey & Jones and request a consultation today.