A last will and testament typically reflects the testator’s wishes regarding an estate. The document commonly stipulates who receives assets, among other directions. A relative might be unhappy about a deceased person’s decisions, but a Texas probate court won’t change a will to make someone feel happy. However, there are compelling legal arguments that could move the court to throw out the will.
Contesting a will in Texas
One point bears mentioning immediately. The court will likely only recognize a valid will. If the will wasn’t signed, the court will not accept it, meaning intestate laws would apply..\ Those drawing up a will should make sure it is valid, or else problems may occur during probate.
What if the testator signed the will and thought it was a different document? Con artists could perform such dubious actions when dealing with someone unable to review the document properly.
Other more deliberate actions could render a will invalid and open legal doors for contesting the document. Any will signed under duress won’t likely hold up.
If a litigant with standing proves another person used threats or deceptions to force the testator to add some aspects to the will, the legal challenge may prove successful.
Other issues related to challenges
A testator may lack the mental capacity to sign the document. While the law establishes lack of capacity as a legitimate reason to contest a will, expect the probate court to require compelling evidence. Testimony from nursing home social workers might support claims of incapacity.
Working with an attorney to draw up and sign a will could decrease the chances a testator suffers undue influence or signs the wrong document. When signing a DIY will in private, questions may surround the document’s legitimacy. In some scenarios, contesting the will becomes unavoidable because things don’t look right.