Contest a Will
We are here to help you during a will contest in The Woodlands
Are you a beneficiary or a presumed beneficiary of a will? Do you have reason to believe that the will in question was not drafted properly? Our legal team can help. Our legal team At The Law Offices of Andrew J. Bolton, Esq. has over 20 years of experience providing legal counsel and representation for will contests in The Woodlands, TX and beyond. Read on to learn more about contesting a will, and contact our law firm at (936) 435-1908 to schedule your complimentary consultation today!
What Is a Will Contest?
When one or more beneficiaries feel that a will was not drafted properly for any reason, they may opt to contest the will and challenge the property distribution outlined in the document. Understanding when and how to contest a will that you believe has been affected by errors or other issues that invalidate its legality is essential to ensure your concerns are addressed. Below you’ll find a discussion of the grounds for contesting a will, as well as the steps to take to contest a will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
When a beneficiary chooses to challenge a will, he must provide valid grounds for this claim. There are three basic reasons that a will may be contested; the challenger must prove their claims in court, while the executor of the will typically stands behind the document and its validity.
- A will may be challenged if one or more beneficiaries believe that the testator was not mentally capable of writing the will when it was created. Reasons for this belief may include dementia, other types of mental illnesses or cognitive decline, or a will written by an individual less than 18 years old.
- Wills may be contested if there is reason to believe the document was not drafted under legally-binding circumstances. This can include any reason the will may violate the state’s current legal requirements for such documentation, including the necessary signatures, notarization, or witnesses.
- If beneficiaries believe the testator was coerced, tricked, or otherwise forced or led during the will’s drafting, or that the will itself was forged or altered, they may challenge the will’s validity based on these grounds.
Challenging a Will with a No-Contest Clause
If a testator is concerned that his beneficiaries may be unhappy with the distribution of assets stated in his will, he may opt to include a no-contest clause in the document. A no-contest clause is meant to discourage challenges to the will by stating that a challenger may lose his inheritance if he is not able to prove the validity of his claim. However, in the state of Texas, no-contest clauses are often only narrowly enforced. This means that courts are hesitant to deny a beneficiary his inheritance if he chooses to contest the will following the proper legal steps and with reasonable good cause.
Taking Steps to Contest a Will
Generally speaking, there are three steps to take to contest a will. First, you must determine if you have standing to contest the will in the first place. This typically means that you must be a beneficiary or an intestate heir. Secondly, you must determine you can file the will contest within the legal timeframe. The period of time during which a will can be legally contested can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years, depending on several factors including state law. Lastly, you must have grounds to contest a will. For quick information on what constitutes grounds for contesting a will, review our section above. For more information and counsel on will contests in general, contact our firm here at The Office of Andrew J Bolton, Esq. We have experience necessary to provide you with comprehensive resources and representation should you choose to pursue your will contest in a court of law. Contact our office at (936) 435-1908 to schedule your complimentary consultation today!
If you are at all concerned that a loved one’s will is not enforceable for any legal reason, please call The Law Offices of Andrew J. Bolton, Esq. at (936) 435-1908 to discuss your concerns and determine whether a will contest is the right next step.
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