Reasons To Contest A Will
You may have to contest your deceased loved one’s Will if you suspect that the Will does not reflect your deceased loved one’s wishes. When there is significant wealth or assets of significant value at stake, the Will making process may not be done properly. This may be because the testator (person making the Will) was not specific about how the assets should be distributed, or may have created the Will when they were not of sound mind. But you must have a ground to contest a Will and that is why you need to talk to an experienced inheritance lawyer.
When Can You Contest?
You must be an interested person for you to be able to contest a Will. An interested person can be heirs, a creditor, a devisee, spouse or anybody else that has a claim on the testator’s estate. You may contest a Will for the following reasons:
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Improper execution
- Undue or fraudulent influence
- Legal non-compliance
Hailey-Petty Law Firm Can Help You With Texas Wills
The Testator’s Testamentary Capacity
A testator must have Testamentary Capacity when making the Will. That means that the testator must be aware that the testator is drafting a Will and must know the nature and extent of the property the testator owns. Having Testamentary Capacity also means that the testator understands the persons who are the natural objects of their bounty such as relatives. A testator must also know the effect of creating the Will and understand that the Will’s purpose is for disposing off their assets.
What all this means is that the testator must be of sound mind while making the Will. So you may challenge a Will if you have proof that the testator made the Will when the testator was not of sound mind. For example, if a testator created the Will after a prior psychosis, Alzheimer’s or dementia, then that means that the testator was not of sound mind while writing the Will.
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There are specific steps that a testator must take when creating a Will. For example, a holographic or handwritten Will must be written in the testator’s handwriting, and the testator must sign it for it to be valid. You can challenge a Will if it does not bear the signature of the testator if it’s a holographic Will, or does not have the signature of the testator and that of two witnesses if it is a typewritten or formal Will.
You can challenge on undue influence grounds if you have evidence that the testator was coerced by another person to change the Will to benefit that person. If someone changes a Will last minute or in an unexpected way, or in a way that is detrimental to their estate, then there may have been coerced to make those changes. You should also get suspicious if a Will does not reflect the wishes the testator has expressed before. Undue influence usually happens by people close to the testator such as a child, spouse or carer.
You may also be interested in…
- Testamentary Trusts In Texas
- Contingent Trust In Texas
- Does A Will Have To Be Notarized?