A will is an essential estate planning document that can carry out functions such as distributing assets and naming child guardians. Nonetheless, as with all legal documents, certain requirements need to be met.
Will contests are not uncommon and they can happen for numerous reasons. Outlined below are some common examples of when a will may be contested.
Questions over capacity
A will is supposed to represent the final wishes of the testator. For this to happen, they must be in the right frame of mind. The testator must be able to give consent and they must understand the terms and consequences of the document.
Often, a testator may be elderly or suffering from some health ailments. If these are thought to have affected the capacity of the testator, then this is a valid reason to contest the will.
Suspected undue influence
As stated, a will must reflect the final wishes of the testator. While beneficiaries may be interested parties, they are not allowed to have a direct influence over the drafting of the will. This is known as undue influence and it often happens when pressure has been asserted on the testator to make provisions that favor certain beneficiaries to the detriment of others.
Questions over legal validity
For a will to be valid in Texas, the testator must be at least 18 years old. There must also be two credible witnesses aged 14 or over who are present while the will is signed. If there are doubts over the legal validity of a will, then a contest will likely be heard by the court.
Having an up-to-date will is invaluable. Whether you’re starting from scratch or making changes, it’s important to have legal guidance behind you.