Challenging a Will
Experienced McKinney Probate Attorneys
Challenging a will in a Texas Probate Court can be exhausting and emotionally
difficult. Very few wills are ever challenged in court. When they are,
it’s typically by a relative who feels slighted or cheated out of
their fair share of the deceased person’s property. To invalidate
an entire will, a contestor must go to court and prove that the will suffers
from a fatal flaw.
Due to the complexity and difficulty with challenging a will, it’s
crucial to hire a qualified probate attorney who can provide the guidance
and representation you need. At the Willingham Law Firm, we have helped
hundreds of clients through the probate process, and have successfully
challenged wills offered for probate. When you retain our firm, you can
expect dedicated, results-oriented counsel designed with your best interests in mind.
Our attorney has handled hundreds of probate and estate planning cases.
Call us today at (214) 250-4407.
How Do You Challenge a Will in Texas?
In order to challenge a will in Texas, a person must have a valid claim.
There are a number of claims an interested party can make to challenge
the validity of a will, including a lack of testamentary capacity, undue
influence, fraud, tortious interference with inheritance rights, a mistake,
or if the testator did not know the contents of the will. All six of these
claims are a valid grounds to contest a will. However, an interested party
must be aware if the will contains a No-Contest clause, as this will terminate
any inheritance of the challenger if their claim is not brought in good
faith and with probable cause.
At the Willingham Law Firm, our experienced McKinney probate lawyers have
been successful in challenging wills offered for probate. In many cases,
we have been able to settle cases quickly before large fees were incurred
by both parties.
If you have a dispute over a will, we may be able to help. Call us today for your
free case evaluation.
Common Grounds for Challenging a Will
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
When a person leaves a will, they must have the mental capacity to understand
the property that they own, the heirs he wishes to leave his property
to, and an understanding of what a will is. This ability or awareness
is called testamentary capacity, and is crucial to the validity of a will.
When a will is offered for probate, the burden of proving this capacity
is upon the proponent. After the will is admitted to probate, however,
the burden shifts to the contestant.
Undue influence is essentially any act which persuades or pressures someone
to the point that it infringes on their free will and judgement. In order
to establish undue influence, the contestant must prove the following:
- the exertion and existence of an influence,
- that the influence overpowers the will of the testator, and
- the will could not have been executed “but for” the influence.
When the execution of a will or an inclusion of a gift is the byproduct
of fraud, the will or the specific gift is invalid. It is fairly rare
to see a will challenged due to fraud, as the burden of proof is higher
than other claims. To prove fraud, a contestant must show the following:
- A person made a false representation, and he or she knew it was false,
- the representations were made with the intent to deceive the testator,
- the testator did not know of the false representation, and
- relying upon the false statement, the testator made a different distribution
then he would have.
Settle Your Disputes. Call (214) 250-4407 Today.
While challenging a will is not common, it can be done if necessary. If
your inheritance rights or your loved one’s wishes have been violated,
call our firm today to pursue justice. Our McKinney & Plano probate
attorneys have years of experience in probate and estate planning law,
and have successfully challenged wills in court. Unlike other firms who
let the process drag on as long as possible, our firm will work to resolve
your case in a quick, thorough, and effective manner.
To challenge a will, you need committed, experienced counsel.
Contact us today to get started.