In Texas, people who create a will or other estate planning document do so with the intention of creating certainty as to how their property will be distributed after they have died. This is a responsible step that is designed to avoid dispute.
However, these issues can be complicated and it is not uncommon for family members and others who believe they are entitled to part of the decedent’s property to contest the will. When a will is admitted to probate to determine its validity and “prove” it, interested parties can still contest it. It is vital to understand the law for these matters.
When can a will be contested?
State law says that once a will has been admitted to probate, an interested party can file a claim to dispute its validity. There could be many reasons for this including assertions that the will was not executed according to the law; the testator was unduly influenced; they were not of sound mind and body at the time; there are multiple documents that could be construed as wills and for other reasons.
The contest must get underway within two years of the date in which the will was admitted to probate. If there is a claim of a forged will, then the time-frame is two years from when it was discovered that there was a fraudulent or forged will.
Be prepared for every eventuality with proper estate planning
The objective of creating an estate plan is to ensure that a person’s property goes where they want it to go after they are gone. Still, there can be complaints about the will and assertions that it is invalid. In some instances, people will claim outright fraud or say there was more than one will.
Probate can be difficult enough after losing a loved one. When a will contest is added to the mix, it can make matters even worse. Whether it is a reasonable complaint that there are issues with the will or it is frivolous, it is wise to be fully aware of estate planning and probate to try and ensure the desired outcome is achieved and the person’s property is distributed as they desired.