What Can I Do If I Do Not Agree with My Loved One’s Will?

 Posted on October 26, 2023 in Estate Planning

TX estate lawyerIf a family member has died and you expected an inheritance, but surprisingly you were not mentioned in the will, you may be wondering what you can do. After a loved one passes away, families often grapple with a web of legal and financial complexities. When disagreements arise among beneficiaries or potential heirs regarding the validity of a will, the situation becomes even more challenging. You need a Texas attorney well-versed in contested estates. There may be a need for probate litigation, and both executors and beneficiaries must understand their rights in these cases. 

How Do I Know a Will Is Legitimate?

In Texas, a testator refers to an individual who has created and executed a legally valid last will and testament. The testator is the person who makes specific decisions regarding the distribution of their assets, property, and belongings after their death. To be considered a valid testator in Texas, the individual must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old, or an emancipated minor. The will must be executed in accordance with the state's legal requirements, which typically involve the testator signing the document in the presence of at least two credible witnesses. The testator's will is a legally binding document that outlines their wishes and instructions for the distribution of their estate, and the appointment of executors or guardians.

How Can I Challenge a Will?

To contest a will, you must establish what is called standing, in other words, you must demonstrate a legal basis for pursuing a lawsuit. Typically, standing is granted to those with a direct interest in the estate who are impacted by the will's terms or the actions of an executor. Such parties may include beneficiaries named in the will or other family members who would have inherited if the deceased had not left a will.

What are the Specific Grounds to Invalidate a Will?

While challenges to wills are common in contested estates, there are limited grounds on which a will may be invalidated. These include the following:

  • When crafting a will, the testator must possess the mental capacity to understand the decisions governing their distribution to family and loved ones. Challenges to a will may arise for example if your loved one had Alzheimer's, dementia, strokes, or addiction.
  • If someone coerced or pressured the testator to change the terms of the will could be a red flag. If your loved one was manipulated to amend their will against their true wishes, it must be explored.
  • Various forms of fraud may lead to obtaining a will signature that does not genuinely reflect the testator's intentions.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Fort Worth, TX Estate Planning Lawyer

At Gonzalez Law, PLLC we know that Texas law places a heavy burden of proof on those contesting a will, making it crucial to gather strong evidence and present a convincing case in court. You need an experienced Fort Worth, TX probate attorney who specializes in probate and estate law to help you navigate the complexities of Texas' inheritance laws. Call 817-349-7330 for a free consultation.


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