Learn who can contest a will in Texas
Published by Robert A. Ray
Start here to learn who can contest a will
On this page you will learn what you need to know about who can contest a will in Texas.
Do not take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what you read. You need to discuss your situation with your attorney who can advise you based on your facts.
If you have a question about a pending or anticipated lawsuit about contesting a will in Texas, use the Contact Us page at the top of the site to see if we can help.
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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.
Information about who can contest a will.
A Texas will or trust can be reformed based on a scrivener’s error (a mistake made by the attorney preparing the document as opposed to a mistake by the clients.) The person seeking a reformation has a high burden. A clear and convincing burden of proof.
A will must dispose of all property in all circumstances. If it doesn’t, the the laws of descent and distribution 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.
In Texas, Nieces and Nephews can contest a will. You need to be an interested party as explained in this post. Learn more about contesting a will in Texas. Learn more.
The best place to start to learn about inheritance is on our inheritance start page. You can then come back to this page. A person is allowed to make a will and leave his estate to whomever he wants. It doesn't make any difference if he has a wife and children, he can...
The laws of inheritance determine who inherits in the following situations: A person dies intestate (without a valid will;) A person has a valid will but for some reason, usually a mistake or the death of a beneficiary, the will does not dispose of all of the property...
Children, heirs, devisees, spouses, creditors, or others having a property right in, or claim against, the estate can contest a Texas will. Learn more.
Contesting a will in Texas may be or may not be affected by acceptance of benefits under the will. Learn more.