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Learn who can contest a will in Texas

by Robert A. Ray

 

Spouse

A spouse formal or common law can contest a will. A spouse is an interested person who has a pecuniary interest in the outcome.

Children

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.

Successful Will challenges?

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.

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

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.

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