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Understanding how to contest an estate in Texas

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2023 | Probate Administration |

Inheritance matters can sometimes lead to disputes among family members. If you are a beneficiary or heir and believe there is an issue with a will in Texas, you might consider contesting the estate.

The process can be complex and emotionally taxing, but understanding the steps can help you navigate it more effectively.

Identify valid grounds to contest

To contest a will in Texas, you must have legal grounds. Common grounds include undue influence, fraud, lack of capacity or the existence of a later will.

File a contest in probate court

If you have valid grounds, you must file your contest in probate court. This usually involves drafting a document known as a “pleading” that states your grounds for contesting the will.

Notify relevant parties

After filing your contest, you must notify all interested parties, including other beneficiaries or heirs named in the will. This gives them the opportunity to respond to your contest.

Gather evidence

To support your contest, gather and prepare all relevant evidence. This can include documents, witness testimonies or expert opinions.

Attend the hearing

The court will schedule a hearing for your contest. You must attend this hearing, where you will present your evidence and argue your case.

Abide by the court’s decision

After the hearing, the court will decide whether to uphold the will or declare it invalid. You must respect this decision, although you can appeal it if you believe the court made an error.

Contesting an estate is a significant decision that can have lasting effects on family relationships. It is a step that you should only take after careful consideration.