Can you contest a will if you accepted benefits?

Robert Ray

Update 2021

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled on the issue of accepting benefits. This is the current ruling on accepting benefits and contesting the will.

Can you contest a will after accepting benefits?

In Estate of Johnson, 20-0424, ____ S.W. 3d ___,  (Tex. May 28, 2021), a daughter accepted a mutual fund valued at over $100,000 that she was given under the will. She later contested the will. The trial court dismissed her contest for lack of standing because she had accepted benefits under the will.  She appealed.

The daughter argued that the benefit she accepted, the mutual fund, was worth less than what she would receive if the will contest was successful ($400,000+.) The Supreme Court upheld the trial court dismissing the contest because she lacked standing after accepting benefits. This is called the acceptance-of-benefits doctrine. If you accept benefits under a will, you can’t contest the will unless your attorney knows how to handle this situation.

The Supreme Court said “a contestant does not defeat an acceptance-of-benefits defense by showing that the benefit she accepted is worth less than a hypothetical recovery should her will contest prevail…Equity does not permit the beneficiary of a will to grasp benefits under the will with one hand while attempting to nullify it with the other.”

Does this case mean that if you ever accept benefits under the will that you can never contest it? No, it doesn’t mean that if your attorney knows how to advise you. So, if you have accepted benefits and decide that you need to contest the will, you will need to find an attorney who can guide you through the process. Remember, you need to act quickly if this should happen.

Let’s Work Together

UPDATES

There are new cases all the time that clarify or change the law on inheritance disputes. Keep up-to-date by subscribing to our blog.

'

Subscribe

Recent Posts

Problems filing in the wrong court

Problems filing in the wrong court

What happens if you miss-file your claims When a case or claim is filed in the wrong court, you may lose your claim without being heard. If your case is dismissed after the statute of limitations has run, you are out of luck no matter how good your claim was....

Can Parents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews Inherit?

Can Parents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews Inherit?

Yes! In Texas Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and others are heirs for the purpose of distributing the estate of the deceased if he died intestate and if the deceased had no spouse or children. Even if the deceased had a spouse but no children, the...

Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will

Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will

Yes, Nieces and Nephews can contest a will in Texas. If you are an interested party, you can contest a will in Texas. Whether the will contest will benefit you depends on several factors. If your parent, who is a sibling of the deceased, is still alive, then your...

Find Out Who Can Contest a Will in Texas?

Find Out Who Can Contest a Will in Texas?

Any person interested in an estate may contest a will. The Probate Code defines "interested persons," in relevant part, to be: children, heirs, devisees, spouses, creditors, or any others having a property right in, or claim against, the estate being administered . ....

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
© Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This