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Will Contest Lawyer

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When a loved one passes away, it is a distressing time in so many different ways. When it comes to probate and the inheritance of assets, things can become even more difficult if you perceive something may be wrong with the will.

Challenging a will requires the knowledge and expertise of an experienced lawyer. At The Law Offices of Andrew J Bolton, Esq., we have seasoned contested will and probate lawyers who offer expert legal advice and who work hard to represent your interests.

Is there a time limit to contest a will?

Yes, there is a time limit to contest a will. But don’t panic. Within Texas, the basic rule is that a will contest must be filed within two years from the date the will is admitted to probate. This means that, once a will is submitted to court and the judge signs the order admitting the will to probate, the statute of limitations begins on anyone who wishes to challenge the will.

If someone submits a will contest, the contested probate process will vary depending on the amount at stake and the reason the will is being contested.

Grounds for contesting a will

Can a will be contested? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is given based on what grounds you wish to challenge a will. Commons grounds for contesting a will include:

  • The testator lacked the capacity to sign the will: The testator must have the capacity to understand the nature and value of their assets, who should logically inherit them, and the legal effect of signing a will.
  • The testator was unduly influenced into signing the will: This involves proving that an outside influencer placed extreme pressure on the testator, putting them under duress and causing them to sign the will in fear and without free will.
  • The will was procured by fraud: This involves tricking the testator to sign a will, which the testator believes is another document altogether, such as power of attorney.
  • The will wasn’t signed in accordance with state laws: Every state has its own rules regarding last will and testaments. For instance, in Texas, one requirement is that two competent witnesses are required in order for the will to be valid.
  • An important provision is subject to two or more interpretations: Sometimes legal documents are created that do not clearly indicate what is meant to take place. When a provision can be left open to multiple interpretations, this is grounds for contestation.

Contesting probate without a will

In some contested probate proceedings, there is no will at all. When the deceased does not have a will, their assets are subject to the Texas laws of intestate succession. The Texas Probate Code will dictate who inherits the deceased person’s probate estate.

However, sometimes this may require an extensive and expensive inquiry into determining who the rightful heirs are to the estate and what happens to the estate property while this is being sorted out.

In other probate cases, even an unrelated individual who would not normally be considered an heir might desire to sue, seeking part of the estate under the doctrine of “adoption by estoppel.”

Do you wish to contest a will?

Wondering whether you have grounds to contest a will? The Law Offices of Andrew J Bolton, Esq., are ready to advise you on your case. Our probate litigation attorney will explain what evidence is necessary to prove your will contest. If you wish to proceed, we’ll work hard to diligently represent your interests.

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