How to Contest a Will in Texas
Read our blog post: How to Contest a Will without Paying any Money Up Front
Who can Contest a Will in Texas?
Any “interested” person may contest the probate of a will. Interested Person is defined in Texas to include:
(If you need to speak to a Houston will contest attorney today, please contact us.)
- spouses; or
- any other person or entity having a property right in or claim against the estate.
Grounds to Contest a Will in Texas:
Contesting a will in Texas is generally accomplished under one of the following theories:
- Revocation by Physical Act: The testator may have revoked the will by some physical act such as tearing the will in half;
- Revocation by Subsequent Instrument: The testator may have revoked the will by executing another document that qualifies as a will or simply by signing a document that states he or she is revoking the will;
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity: If the testator did not have sufficient “testamentary capacity” at the time the will was executed, the will is void;
- Lack of Due Execution: There are certain statutory formalities that must be met when executing a will (e.g., the will may not have been properly witnessed or signed);
- Undue Influence: The will may be challenged if the testator executed the will as a result of undue influence (e.g., one child pressures the testator to sign a will leaving everything to them and nothing to the testator’s other children);
- Fraud: This includes the forging of the testator’s or witnesses’ signatures. It also includes the substitution of pages after the signing of the will.
- Mistake: This includes situations where the testator did not know he or she was signing a will. Mistake also may occur where the testator makes choices regarding who to leave his or her property to based on mistaken beliefs.
Filing a Will Contest in Texas
Generally, once an application has been filed to probate a will, the contesting party files what is called a “will contest” challenging the validity of a will by alleging various grounds for which the will should not be admitted to probate.
When to File a Will Contest in Texas
In addition to filing a contest prior to a will having been admitted to probate (but after it has been filed), a contestant may file a will contest within two years after the will has been admitted to probate.
The Cost of Filing a Will Contest in Texas
Our firm handles the contest of wills on both an hourly and contingency fee basis. Each case is different so call us to get an estimate on what it might cost to represent you in your particular situation.
For a free initial consultation with the experienced Houston will contest attorneys at Romano & Sumner, please call us at 281 242-0995 or contact our Houston area law office.