Statute of limitations in Texas for contesting any document on undue influence or mental capacity

Robert Ray

In a 2019 case, a father had two daughters. He was an alcoholic and had a drug problem. One daughter lived close by and saw him several times a week. The other daughter lived far away and saw him once or twice a year. Shortly before he died, the father changed all his accounts, naming the daughter who lived close by as the survivor of the accounts. He also deeded his real estate to the same daughter. He changed three life insurance policies to name only the daughter who lives nearby. One life insurance policy was left to each daughter.

Shortly after the father died, the daughter who lived close by told her sister that her father did not have much and had left her what he did have. About six years after the father died, the sister, who lived far away, found out that her father’s estate was worth about $1 million. She filed suit against the other sister, claiming that her father was mentally incompetent to change the accounts or make the deeds and was being unduly influenced by her sister.

The claims were thrown out because the sister did not bring her claims within the statute of limitations. The court said, “It is settled law in Texas that a contract executed by a person who lacks mental capacity is voidable, not void…A cause of action to void a contract is personal and belongs to the parties to a contract. The right to disaffirm a contract survives the death of an incompetent person and descends to his heirs or his personal representative…The right to disaffirm is subject to a four-year statute of limitations.” Because the complaining sister filed her claim after the statute of limitations had expired, her claim was dismissed.

If a person executes any document while they are mentally incompetent or under the undue influence of another, some action needs to be taken before the statute of limitations runs. 01-18-00661-CV. 01-21-00224-CV. Contesting a will has to be commenced within two years of the date the will is admitted to probate.

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Robert Ray

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