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What to do when you disagree with the terms of a loved one’s will

| Jun 2, 2021 | Probate

When a person in Beaumont passes away, their estate will likely go through the probate process. If they have a will this is when the terms of the will are carried out and the deceased’s assets are transferred to their heirs. This process can be especially distressing when a person who is already grieving the loss of a loved one disagrees with the terms of the will. In such a situation the aggrieved heir may want to contest the will.

What is required to contest a will?

A will contest is a formal lawsuit filed in probate court in which an heir challenges the provisions of the deceased’s will. An heir must have standing to contest a will. This means that they can only contest a will if they would be personally affected by the outcome of the case. Generally, this means they would have stood to inherit as defined by state intestacy laws or they were specifically named in a prior will.

In addition, a will contest must be filed within the appropriate time frame. This time frame is determined by the laws of the state the deceased lived in when they passed away. State law on this time frame varies greatly with some states only granting a few months for an heir to contest a will while other states granting heirs a few years to contest a will. If an heir waits too long to contest a will, they are barred from doing so even if they had met standing requirements.

Grounds to contest a will

A will contest must be based on certain grounds. Generally, there are four different grounds upon which a will can be contested. One ground for contesting a will is if the will was not executed with the proper legal formalities as defined by state law. The second ground for contesting a will is if the deceased did not have the mental capacity to make a will at the time it was executed or revised. The third ground for contesting a will is if the deceased only executed the will under undue influence. Finally, a will can be contested if it was procured by fraud.

Learn more about probate litigation

Contesting a will can be a stressful endeavor during what is already a difficult time. Fortunately, help is available to those in Texas who disagree with the terms of a loved one’s will. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about probate litigation may find our firm’s website to be a useful resource.