“We know how much hardship a will contest dispute with your family or others can cause. Take it easy on yourself, and hire the competent and aggressive will contest attorneys at Romano & Sumner.”
Experienced Will Contest Attorneys Serving Sugar Land and the Surrounding Areas
A will contest is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will, based on the contention that the will does not reflect the actual intent of the party that made the will or that the will is otherwise invalid.
The will contest attorneys at Romano & Sumner in Sugar Land, TX have successfully represented clients in all manner of will contests for many years. Making the decision to become involved in a will contest can be a very emotionally difficult experience. Taking this step typically involves pitting yourself against another family member, possibly even a brother or a sister.
Our lawyers have experience with both challenging and defending wills and can answer the following questions for you:
- Who can contest a will?
- How do I contest a will?
- On what grounds can a will be contested?
- When can a will be contested and how long do I have to contest a will?
- What if the will has a no contest clause?
- How much does it cost to contest a will?
Read below for answers to these questions.
The trial attorneys at Romano & Sumner have experience in handling a variety of will contest matters.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- Mother with Alzheimer’s or Dementia signed a new will just weeks before she died leaving everything to one child while cutting out other children who were included under a prior will. (See below – Lack of Testamentary Capacity).
- Daughter falsely claims that her brother has been stealing from their father causing father to change his will in favor of daughter. (See below – Fraud in the Inducement).
- After father’s death sister produces a recently signed will that cuts out other children with a signature that looks suspicious. (See below – Fraud).
- One child takes over caring for a parent at the end of parent’s life, prevents other children from visiting parent, and then produces a will after parent’s death that leaves everything to the caregiver child. (See below – Undue Influence).
- Son who lives close to mother manipulates mother into changing her will to cut out other children who live farther away by threatening to stop caring for mother. (See below – Undue Influence).
If your answer is yes, then the will contest attorneys at Romano and Sumner are here to provide you with guidance. Continue reading for a more in depth discussion of how to contest a will in Texas:
Who Can Contest a Will in Texas?
Any “interested” person may contest the probate of a will. An Interested Person is defined in Texas to include:
- Heirs (generally children or grandchildren of a deceased child),
- Devisees (someone who is named as a beneficiary in a will),
- Spouses, or
- Any other person or entity having a property right in or claim against the estate.
How do you Contest a Will in Texas?
The contesting party files what is called a “will contest” which challenges the will by alleging one or more grounds that make the will invalid.
On what Grounds can you Contest a Will in Texas?
Challenging a will in Texas is generally accomplished under one of the following theories:
- Revocation by Physical Act: The testator may revoke a will by some physical act such as tearing the will in half.
- Revocation by Subsequent Instrument: The testator may revoke a will by executing another document that qualifies as a will or simply by signing a document that states that 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. Generally, at the time the will was executed, the testator must have 1) understood he or she was signing a will, 2) understood that the will was a legal document that gave instructions for distribution of the testator’s assets upon death (and understood the plan), 3) understood the general nature and extent of the testator’s property, and 4) known who were his or her next of kin (family).
- 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.
- Fraud in the Inducement: When someone changes their will based on lies told to them by another person (usually about the beneficiaries of the prior will) then the will has been “induced” by fraud and may be challenged on this ground.
- Mistake: This includes situations where the testator did not know he or she was signing a will.
When can a Will be Contested in Texas and how long do I have to file a will contest?
In addition to filing a contest before a will is admitted to probate, a contestant may file a will contest within two years after the will has been admitted to probate.
How Much does it Cost to Contest a Will?
Our firm handles the contest of wills on both an hourly and contingency fee basis.
- Hourly Fee – If our firm handles your will contest on an hourly fee basis then you pay for our services on an hourly rate. You will also be responsible for paying for expenses as those expenses are incurred.
- Contingency Fee – If your will contest is handled on a contingency fee basis then you agree to share a percentage of any recovery with our firm; however, you do not pay unless we collect. Each case is different so call us to get an estimate on what it might cost to represent you in your particular situation.
No Contest Clauses
Prior to contesting the will, a contestant should examine the will in question to determine whether it contains a “no contest” clause. If the will does contain a no contest clause, the contestant should evaluate what impact the no contest clause will have on his or her inheritance should the contest prove unsuccessful (e.g., complete forfeiture of any inheritance). The Texas will contest attorneys at Romano and Sumner can assist you with this evaluation.
For a free initial consultation with experienced Sugar Land will contest attorney who can advise you on contesting a will in Texas, please call us at 281 242-0995 or contact our Houston law offices.
Romano & Sumner, LLC is proud to serve these Texas areas
Cities / Suburbs:
The Woodlands | Sugar Land | Baytown | Conroe | Katy | Friendswood | Pearland | League City | Richmond | Rosenberg | Spring | Humble | Kingwood | Clear Lake City | Stafford | Jersey Village | Cypress | Missouri City
77478 | 77479 | 77487 | 77496 | 77498 | 77459 | 77489
Harris County, Fort Bend County, and surrounding counties