When someone passes away in Texas, their will may come under a lot of scrutiny. The will is a legal document that determines who gets the deceased’s assets, property and anything else of value. When things go smoothly and everything is spelled out properly, the will is straightforward. When someone disputes the will, it’s called a will contest.
If someone is planning on contesting the will, they’ll need to prepare themselves for what could be a very long and drawn-out process. They also need to keep the following information in mind.
File with the time limit
Every state has a specific period of time within which a will can be contested. People need to make sure that they file within that window. If they don’t, they won’t be able to file their case. The reason for this is that states try to keep the window of time that an estate can be challenged as reasonably small as possible so that payouts to beneficiaries can be given out sooner rather than later.
To file a will contest, people need to show that they have standing. This means that they need to prove that they’ll be personally affected by whatever decision is made in the case. Those who have standing include individuals or entities, which may include organizations like charities or banks. They either need to be someone or something that was named in the deceased person’s prior will or what is called an intestate heir. The term intestate means that someone has died without a legal will.
Grounds to contest
People who are allowed to contest a will need to also prove that they have grounds to contest it. This could mean that they need to prove things like the will wasn’t signed properly and legally, the decedent wasn’t of sound mind and body when they made the will, the decedent was forced to make the will or the will was created illegally or is a fake.
People who are looking for help ensuring that their wills are ironclad may benefit by working with a law firm that has experience with estate planning. An attorney could make sure that the will stands up to future lawsuits.