After an individual dies and leaves a will behind, their family members may take action to contest the will. Reasons for litigation may vary, and Texas probate courts may find lawsuits contesting wills filling up annual dockets. Both sides of the litigation might be unfamiliar with the term “interested parties,” but it is an important one from a legal perspective.
Anyone named as a beneficiary in a last will and testament becomes an interested party, which seems logical. After all, the beneficiary receives something in the will, so he or she has an interest. However, people outside the will could be interested parties based on their relationship to the decedent. The possibility exists that family members left out of the will could be interested parties.
Probate litigation may lead to an examination of the previous will. Someone named in a previous will could become an interested party if left out of a new version. Maybe the individual believes that coercion factored into changing the will. He or she could attempt to prove the claim as a way of invalidating the new will. Of course, the claims must be legitimate ones and also provable in court. People should not expect a judge to overturn a will and change the decedent’s requests based on someone not liking the contract.
Family members aren’t the only ones who may fall under the interested party category. A friend or business associate named in a previous will who is later taken out of a new will might be an interested party. Creditors may also factor into the picture. Interested parties who contest a will must accept that the estate might need to pay off debts and obligations.
An experienced attorney may answer questions about probate litigation. Individuals wondering about how to contest or defend a will may want to speak to a probate lawyer.