Children, legitimate or illegitimate, adopted or natural born can contest a will. Even unknown children who find lost parents.
Other Distant Relatives
Distant relatives like siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins may have an interest in the outcome of a contest.
Who Can Contest a Will
Not everyone can contest a will. A person contesting a will must be an interested party.
The Texas Estates 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 . . .” In order to contest a will, you must be an “interested party.”
The interest referred to must be a pecuniary one, held by the party either as an individual or in a representative capacity, which will be affected by the probate or defeat of the will. That means you must have a financial interest. An interest resting on sentiment or sympathy, or any other basis other than gain or loss of money or its equivalent, is insufficient. For instance, if you are a neighbor and you see that an undeserving child seems to be ending up with all of the property of their parents or grandparents, there’s nothing that you can do because your interest is not pecuniary. It is just altruistic. The only thing that you can do is to notify an interested party of your concerns. If they are not interested in contesting the will, there’s nothing else for you to do.
If a will is successfully challenged, the court may then turn to the decedent’s previous valid will if there is one to determine what should be done with the estate.
If there was no previous valid will, or if it has been lost, then the decedent (the person whose estate the will is about) will be considered to have died intestate, or without a will.
At that point, the court will turn to laws that govern how an estate is divided when no will has been left behind.
Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.
What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Texas and how can it affect inheritance rights?
A Texas will or trust can be reformed, in limited circumstances, based on a scrivener’s error (a mistake made by the attorney preparing the document as opposed to a mistake by the clients.)
A will must dispose of all property in all circumstances. If it doesn’t, then the laws of intestate succession will determine who gets the property.
Challenging a pay of death (POD) or joint account with right of survivorship account is difficult but cah be done. Don’t accept them at face value.
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.
Texas’ parents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and even cousins can inherit if there are no children or spouse. Even if there is a spouse, they may inherit. Learn more.
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