Texas Statute of Limitations for Contesting a Will

Robert Ray

Basic Rule

In general, a will contest must be filed within two years from the date the will is admitted to probate. Click on the highlighted terms to read about what “admitted to probate” means.

Contesting a Will in TexasTime Limits
Basic Rule2 years from date will admitted to probate
Minor2 years from date of majority
FraudNo limit but you must act reasonably quickly after discovery of fraud

Suits to Declare Heirship

The legislature changed the law on timelimits for suits to declare heirship in 2014. For people dying after January 1, 2014, there is no limitation on a suit to declare heirship. EC 202.0025. For people dying before that date, there is still a general 4 year limitation period on suits to declare heirship in certain situations. An attorney needs to look at the case to determine if there is a exception to the four year period.

A suit to declare heirship is different from a will contest. Just because the time limits to declare heirship have changed, it does not change the statute of limitations period for contesting a will. It is just another item that should be discussed with your attorney.

Example: An example may be that a person leaves a will giving his property to his “heirs” or to his “children” or some other general term without specifically mentioning individuals. Someone who is an heir or a child of the deceased does not know about the will or the death of the person. Years later, they do learn about the provisions in the will. In those cases, a person who is an heir or a child of the deceased may be able to file a declaration of heirship to have the court declare that they are an heir or a child of the decedent and entitled to their share of the property.

What you should know

Remember, the two year limitations period applies to will contest. The time is measured from the time the will is admitted to probate.

Other States

Many states have much shorter statute of limitations for contesting a will. In New Jersey a person must file a will contest within 4 months after a will has been admitted to probate unless they are from out of state – then they have 6 months. Texas’ statute of limitations on contesting a will are more generous than most states.


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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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