What can go wrong if you represent yourself – part 1

Robert Ray

Contesting a will in Texas and representing yourself

Representing yourself in a Texas will contest is like operating on yourself. Can you do it? Yes. Is it safe to do it? No.

Necessary Disclaimer: Do not take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what you read. You need to discuss your situation with an attorney who can advise you based on your facts.

If you have a question about a pending or anticipated lawsuit about contesting a will in Texas, use the Contact Us page at the top of the site to see if we can help.

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What can go wrong if you represent yourself

In a 2020 case, a man contested the will of a woman who he claimed was his common-law wife. Texas refers to these marriages as informal marriages.

He was quickly thrown out of court because he represented himself and did not know what he was doing. When reading the case, it seems that he had a good case or at least a case that could have been tried to a jury. But because he was representing himself and did not know what to do, he lost before the case ever got to a jury. The decision of the appeals court is full of examples of things that he failed to do to be able to maintain his claim. The court was not able to do anything but dismiss his case. 07-19-00283-CV, 07-18-00434-CV.

The moral of the story is this: if you represent yourself, the court cannot give you any help. You have to know what is needed and provide it in a timely manner. If you don’t, your case will be dismissed before anyone decides the merits of your case.


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The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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