Houston Lawyers for Challenging or Protesting a Will
Our Houston Will Contest Lawyers can assist you in challenging a Will that has been improperly executed or obtained. If you have been denied your rightful share of inheritance, there are many legal ways to have the will set aside by the probate courts so that you receive your proper percentage of the estate. This type of estate litigation is known as a “Will Contest” or “Challenge.”
We Take Will Contest Cases on a Percentage Basis
Our Estate Lawyers handle Will Contest cases on a “no-win, no fee” percentage basis meaning if we can get the will set aside obtain a portion of the estate for you, we will get paid. If not, you owe us NOTHING. We can challenge a Will in Houston or anywhere in the State of Texas.
Ways to challenge a Will and have it thrown out
Wills can be declared invalid for many reasons in an inheritance dispute. When that happens, the probate court can award the legal heirs – children, grandchildren, spouses, etc – their legal share of the inheritance. Some of these reasons include:
- Lack of Capacity: When a Will is executed, the testator (person signing the will) must know what he or she is doing and must have a sound disposing mind and memory. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for family and non-family members to take advantage of elderly or ill people to change their will to their benefit. In so doing, other relatives are often left out of the will and receive less than what the testator really wanted to provide for them in the document.
- Undue Influence: Often, people with testamentary capacity are convinced to change their Will or execute one which benefits somebody who has coerced them into doing so. It is done to the coercing person’s benefit and always takes inheritance away from other people. This can be known as “undue influence” and if found, the probate court can invalidate the will and compensate the people who have been cheated out of their fair share of the estate.
- Fraud: If a person is tricked into signing or changing a Will through fraud – intentional misrepresentation – the victims (any heirs or others whose inheritance was diminished or erased) can challenge that will in the probate court by proving that the will would not have been executed except for the fraud.
- Improper Execution: Texas and other states have very strict requirements regarding how a Will is supposed to be written, signed and witnessed. If these requirements were not met, the Will can be contested and thrown out.
- Forged Wills: If you believe you have been cut out of a Will that was forged, your rights as a beneficiary allow you to initiate probate litigation to set aside the will and either proceed under a prior properly executed Will or under the inheritance laws.
Improper Revocation or Modification of a Will
There are many reasons why a person may choose to change an already existing will. People die, property value changes, and new relationships form. Whatever your reason is, it is necessary to hire an attorney in order to ensure that your wishes are provided for in a legally binding will. The attorney you hire must be knowledgeable and experienced in the area of estate law.
In order for a will to be properly modified in Texas, it must go through a very specific process according to Texas law as provided in Texas Probate Code §63.
Generally, if an individual chooses to change their will, they can elect to either revoke it and create a new one, or change their existing will to accommodate their current wishes. If a person chooses to do the former, Texas law requires that the revocation be either in writing or that the already existing will be destroyed by the testator, canceled, or destroyed in the testator’s presence. The testator must also have testamentary capacity and intent to destroy the will. Once a will is revoked in Texas, it can not be revived. If a testator wishes to modify an already existing will, he or she must implement a “codicil”. A codicil is defined as a document which is attached to a will that explains that the will has been modified. Simply taking a pen and “striking out” a portion of your will is not a permissible method of modification. Again, this is because wills are always at risk of fraud.
If you have been denied your inheritance or portion of an estate, contact Michael P. Fleming for a free no-obligation consultation about a possible Will dispute. THERE ARE STATUTES OF LIMITATION THAT MAY DENY YOUR WILL CONTEST CLAIM IF NOT BROUGHT IN TIME SO CALL TODAY!