Texas has a two year statute of limitation for contesting a will. Other states have shorter or longer time limits for will contest. An example of a short period of time for challenging a will is the state of Indiana. The statute of limitation in Indiana is only three months after the will has been admitted to probate! Indiana Code §29-1-7-17. In a recent case on a will contest, the appeals court upheld a dismissal of a will contest because it had been filed after the statute of limitations had run. The contestant alleged that he did not know that that the decedent had died. The decedent was his step-mother. She had cut off all contact with him. He said that he searched for her obituary on a regular basis because he knew that his step mother and his dad had entered into a contract to make wills benefiting him. He did not find out that she had died until nine after she died. Her new will had been admitted to probate several months after her death and six months before he knew the new will had been admitted to probate. This was an Indiana case which has a three month time limit on contesting wills so his will contest was dismissed. No. 89A05-1402-ES-62.
In 2015, the Washington state Supreme Court dismissed a case contesting a will because of missed time limits. In Washington state, you have four months after a will has been admitted to probate to file a will contest. You then have to serve the executor with ninety days. A man filed the will contest on time and then notified the executor by email. The executor filed an answer to the will contest in court. Later, after the ninety days time period had run, the executor moved to dismiss the suit contesting the will. The Supreme Court of Washington state upheld the dismissal even though the executor knew of the suit and even filed an answer to it. Their reasoning was that the email notice was not sufficient and even though the executor knew of the suit and filed and answer to it, dismissal was still required because he was not served properly!
Statutes Of Limitation For Contesting A Will In Texas
Texas’ statutes of limitation for contesting a will is two years from the date that a will as been admitted to probate. You can review our article on the Texas probate process here.
Statutes of Limitation for contesting a will can be fatal.
While these cases are from Indiana and Washington and those states have a very short statute of limitations for contesting a will they show what can happen if you miss a deadline. If you think that you have some interest in an estate, the burden is on you to stay informed and know when people die, when a probate is filed and what time limits exist. It is necessary for you to act quickly or you may lose you inheritance.
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By Robert Ray a Board Certified attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. We handle litigation involving inheritance disputes. We don’t prepare wills. We don’t file wills for probate or distribute estates except when we are contesting a will or protecting a will from a contest. We handle a select few cases on contingency. Don’t use a comment to ask a personal question about an inheritance issue because your name and comment will be public. To ask a litigation question and to protect your privacy, click the red button to the right.