We’ve all seen the television shows where an unknown heir comes forward to contest a will to claim millions from his or her long-lost relative. However, that really doesn’t happen very often. There are a few challenges to the validity of a will that are recognized in Texas, though. Consider the following:
Fraud: This can be difficult to prove. An heir or beneficiary who wants to contest a will on this point will need to prove that the author of the will signed it because he or she was tricked in some way. An example of fraud would be someone signing a will that he or she believed was another legal document.
Undue influence: This is another reason for contesting a will that can be difficult to prove. This is often used by those who are left out of a will and believe that someone pressured the decedent to change his or her will.
Lack of capacity: A will may be contested if it is believed that the author of the will was not mentally capable of understanding what he or she was creating and signing.
Improper execution: A court could throw a will out if it was not filed or executed properly.
Creating your last will and testament is an important step in the estate planning process. You want to preserve your legacy for your heirs, but you also don’t want to make a difficult time in their lives even more amplified by not having a legally-executable estate plan. The advice of an estate planning attorney can be very beneficial and ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death.
Source: AARP, “Where There’s a Will …” Sep. 24, 2014