817-349-7730

Fort Worth Contested Estates Lawyer

Saginaw will contest attorneys

Tarrant County Estate Administration Attorney Representing Fiduciaries and Beneficiaries in Probate Litigation

Family members may encounter multiple types of legal and financial issues after a loved one's death. The process of probate administration can be complicated, and an executor or estate administrator will have to address many different concerns related to a person's physical property and financial assets, their debts and expenses, and their wishes for who should inherit different items. This process can become even more complicated in situations where a person's beneficiaries or those who expect to inherit property disagree about the person's wishes, the validity of their will, or the actions taken by an executor. These disputes may be settled through probate litigation, and both executors and beneficiaries will need to understand their rights and options in these cases.

In matters related to contested estates, it is crucial to secure representation from an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. Gonzalez Law, PLLC has assisted numerous clients with these issues, helping them determine whether disputes may be settled through negotiation or providing representation in court hearings and trials. We have more than 30 years of combined legal experience in matters related to estates and probate, and we make sure our clients understand the laws that affect them and the best ways to make sure their loved ones' wishes are carried out correctly.

When Can a Will Be Contested in Texas?

To contest a will, a person must have "standing" to do so, meaning that they have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit. Generally, a person will have standing if they have an interest in the estate and are directly affected by the terms of a will or the actions of an executor or estate representative. These parties may include beneficiaries included in a will or other family members who would have been able to inherit property if the person had died without a will. Challenges to a will may occur because a person who expected to inherit property was excluded from a will or because beneficiaries who had been included in a previous will were negatively affected by a subsequent will that their loved one created before their death.

In matters involving contested estates, a party will usually claim that the will that was filed in probate court was invalid. However, there are only a few reasons why a will may be invalidated. These include:

  • Mental capacity of the testator - When a person creates a will, they must have "testamentary capacity," which means they understand the extent of the assets they own and the decisions about how they want these assets to be distributed to their family members or loved ones. A will may be challenged on the basis that the testator did not have the ability to understand and make decisions about the terms of their will when they signed the document. These types of challenges may occur in situations where a person had physical or mental conditions that affected their ability to make complex financial decisions, such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, strokes, or drug addiction.
  • Undue influence on the testator - Family members may believe that someone convinced or forced their loved one to change the terms of their will. Undue influence may involve a caretaker or a person who managed the testator's finances, and family members may feel that the person coerced or threatened their loved one and influenced them to make updates to their will that did not correctly reflect their wishes.
  • Fraudulent inducement of the testator - Multiple types of fraud may be used to obtain a signature on a will that did not accurately reflect the testator's wishes. For example, a person may have asked the testator to sign a standard insurance form when they were actually signing an updated will without knowledge of the will's terms.
  • Improper execution of the will - Under Texas law, a will must usually be signed by the testator and two witnesses. However, holographic (handwritten) wills may be signed without a witness as long as the entire will is in the handwriting of the testator. A will may be determined to be invalid if it did not meet all legal requirements when it was signed.

Contact Our Haltom City Probate Litigation Lawyer

Our attorneys can help executors defend against challenges to a will during the probate process. We can also provide representation for beneficiaries who believe that their loved one's will is invalid or that an executor has failed to correctly follow their loved one's instructions. Contact our firm by calling 817-349-7730 and scheduling a free consultation. We assist with contested wills and estates in Arlington, Haltom City, White Settlement, Fort Worth, Saginaw, Plano, Dallas, Forest Hill, Tarrant County, and Richland Hills.

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Location

1227 W. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 520
Fort Worth, TX 76104

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