In some cases, there can be circumstances when a will is not executed properly. When this happens, the will may need to be formally contested in order to make sure the estate is administered as intended by the decedent. This is why it is important to hire a skilled will contest attorney.
Legally in the state of Texas, any “person interested” in a particular estate can contest a Will in probate court.
You can find the definition of the term “interested” in section 22.018 of the Texas Estates Code. In short, it says that an “interested” party means anyone whose rights in the estate will be affected by the defeat or probate of the will. This strictly has to do with monetary interest, and does not include sentimental or other relations. A will contest attorney can help you navigate this.
In some cases, wills can include a no-contest clause. A no-contest or forfeiture clause states that a person’s rights in the estate are forfeited if they pursue court action, such as a suit to contest or modify a will.
When a will includes a forfeiture clause and a person pursues court action, they will have to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is just cause for bringing the action to the court. They also have to prove that the action was brought in good faith. The person is risking complete forfeiture of their right in the estate if they fail to show just cause and good faith.
In general, Texas courts don’t often enforce forfeiture clauses if the challenge is successful. However, this kind of clause can be problematic if the will contest is unsuccessful. It is imperative to check if the will includes a no-contest clause before moving forward with a contest. One should also consult with a probate attorney so they can be aware of the legal ramification of any such clause.
When a person files to reform or contest a will, they must make an affirmative statement in a court. The purpose of this statement is to plead the grounds on which they are making the challenge. A will contest lawyer can guide you through this process.
In Texas, the following grounds are considered for contesting a will:
When filing a contest, it must be filed in the court where the application to probate the will was filed. Most of the time, this will be the county court where the decedent resided at the time of death. A will contest attorney can help you with this.
While a will contest can be filed before or after the will has been admitted to probate, it is important to note the differences:
Do you need help with a probate matter in Dallas-metro area or the surrounding communities? Hire a skilled will contest attorney. We are experienced probate attorneys who represent clients with sensitive probate matters. If so, please give us a call us at or use the contact form below to see how we can help.