The estate planning attorneys at Carroll Troberman are here to help if you have concerns about the validity of a last will as a family member or friend of a decedent. A last will can be challenged before it is formally admitted to probate. In order for the will to be valid, the testator must have executed the document when he or she was of sound mind. There can be no coercion involved, and proper execution is required. In Texas, a will must be signed in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses must sign the document as well.
It is also possible to contest a will after the probate process has been initiated when certain circumstances exist. If there is evidence that the will may be a forgery, or if there is fraud involved, a challenge could be permissible.
Another event that can trigger an allowable challenge is the discovery of a second will that was dated after the will that was deemed valid by the probate court. Children that were not aware of the fact that they had a legal right to a share of the estate of a deceased parent can come forward to issue a challenge. Incapacitated heirs have the ability to contest a will after it has been admitted to probate if capacity has been regained.
When a living trust has been utilized in lieu of a last will, a challenge is more difficult, but it is possible. Even if there is a no-contest clause that disinherits anyone that contests the terms of a trust, a lawsuit could be initiated.
On the other side of the estate litigation equation, we can be engaged to represent estates that are being challenged by people that have been disinherited or those that feel that they have been shortchanged. Estate litigation can also involve creditors that are seeking payments from an estate before the assets are distributed to the inheritors.
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If you would like to discuss an estate litigation matter with an attorney, our doors are open. You can click this link to request a consultation appointment electronically, and if you would prefer to speak with us over the phone, we can be reached at 512-478-3800.