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Success Rate Of Contesting A Will In Texas

Contesting A Will In TX

There is a high possibility that a conflict will emerge once a Will has been read to heirs.  This often happens in situations where the heirs had a troubled relationship with the decedent or do not see eye to eye with the decedent’s surviving spouse. While not all conflicts are intense there are many situations where an heir decides to contest the Will.

Contesting a Will is not as easy as it is represented in the movies. A trusted attorney can give you more information about the success rate of contesting a will in Texas.

When The Property Was Jointly Owned

Contesting A Will In Texas

But you don’t need to probate a Will if all the decedent* jointly held the property with the surviving spouse.  This is because the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse. In this situation, it would be a waste of time and money to contest the Will because the property passed from one owner to the next owner.

Is The Will Valid?

How To Contest A Will In Texas

What Are The Chances of Contesting A Will And WinningA Will has to go through the probate process to prove its validity.  Until then you cannot take any legal action. A Will is considered to be valid if it has testamentary intent, which means it has to state that what is written in the Will is according to the wishes of the person that drafted the Will.

Most of the time the first paragraph on a Will is what reveals the testamentary intent of the decedent.  But a Will also has to fulfill the following requirements:

  • The Will must be written in the deceased’s handwriting for it to be referred to as a holographic Will. It should not be a form with blank spaces filled in by the deceased’s handwriting.
  • Two independent witnesses must sign a typed or fill in the blank Will

People that disagree with what a Will says can contest it in court.

Reasons For Contesting A Will

When Can You Contest A Will In TX

You need to be a natural heir for you to contest a Will. A natural heir is a person that would inherit from the decedent if intestate laws were used.  But you have to prove the following things:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity:  Texas law requires a person to have a testamentary capacity for them to execute a Will. A lack of testamentary capacity means that the deceased person was not of sound mind when drafting the Will. This can be proven using medical records, witnesses and more.
  • Undue Influence: When someone pressures the Will maker to make changes to their Will, it can be considered as undue influence. But you have to prove that the pressure was equivalent to threatening the life of the Will maker for you to win such a case.
  • Due Execution: You can challenge a Will if specific steps and formalities were not followed. For instance, if a typed Will misses one signature, you can contest its validity.

A Will is likely to be challenged if there are many valuable assets involved and there are many heirs. Consult an experienced probate lawyer if you decide to contest a Will in Texas. Your lawyer can advise you on whether suing is the right step and help you gather the extensive amount of evidence needed in case.