Under Texas Probate Code Section 93, a person can challenge a will if they have a reason to believe that something is wrong with it. However, this capability is only restricted to individuals referred to as “interested parties.”
Understanding interested parties in Texas
In Texas, interested parties are individuals who would be affected by the will if it were to be declared invalid. This generally includes people who are named in the will, as well as those who would inherit from the estate if there were no will at all.
Common reasons for challenging a will
The first is the lack of testamentary capacity. For a will to be valid in Texas, the testator must be in a position to understand what they are doing and know all the property they have. If the person didn’t have testamentary capacity when they made their will, then the interested parties can challenge it.
Another ground interested parties can use to contest the will is undue influence. This happens when someone who stands to gain from the will persuades the testator to change it in their favor, often through coercion or threats.
The third reason is due to execution. There are specific steps and formalities that must be followed for a will to be valid. For example, in Texas, a will must be in writing, signed by at least two witnesses and notarized. If these requirements are not met, then the will can be contested.
Lastly, interested parties can challenge a will if estate planning and probate laws in Texas are not followed. For instance, if the estate executor does not abide by the proper procedures for distributing the assets, or if they fail to give interested parties the required notices, creditors or beneficiaries can file a lawsuit to challenge it.
If you are planning to contest a will in Texas, you should be aware of the no-contest clause. This is a provision in some wills that says that anyone who challenges the will forfeits their inheritance if they fail in their attempt.