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College Station, TX
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Challenging the validity of a will

After the death of a loved one, those left behind must navigate the complicated process of settling the estate and distributing property as indicated by the will. In some cases, this can be a relatively easy process, but in others, it may be necessary to challenge or contest a will.

Contesting a will can be an emotional and difficult process, and if this is the most beneficial step for you and your Texas family, you should not attempt to navigate the legal process without seasoned legal guidance.

How can you know if you should challenge a will?

There are multiple reasons to challenge a will, and if you are successful, it could result in an invalidation of the original one. Valid reasons include:

  • Duress: If a person is under threat or persuaded to write or change an existing will, it could invalidate the terms of that document. For example, a caretaker may take advantage of his or her elderly charge and forcibly or deceptively persuade that person to designate money or assets to the caretaker.
  • Undue influence from an heir: If one or multiple heirs push for a change to a will or the drafting of a will to reflect their wishes, you may be able to challenge it. Elderly, incapacitated or ill individuals are often susceptible to the undue influence of loved ones.
  • Testamentary capacity: It may be appropriate to challenge the validity of a will if the person writing the will was not capable of understanding who his or her heirs were, the financial nature of the decisions made or the full scope of his or her estate.

Circumstances that necessitate the challenging of a will are relatively rare, and there must be ample evidence to support your claim of an invalid will.

What happens next?

A will contest should be filed with the probate court that is overseeing the administration of the estate. A discovery process, depositions and even a trial can follow, which is very costly. Most of the time, this is worthwhile only when there is a significant amount of money or valuable assets at stake.

After the successful challenging of the will, the judge can throw out some parts or all of the will. If there is no other will, estate distribution will follow intestacy laws in Texas. Due to the burdensome and complicated process of challenging a will, you will find great benefit in securing the assistance of a knowledgeable, experienced probate litigation attorney.

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College Station, TX 77840

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