Many people die before they have created an estate plan, which can lead to confusion and heartache for those left behind. Sometimes there is confusion and heartache even with a last testament in place.
The testator, or creator of the will, may make mistakes while creating the document. Other issues may come into play as well. There are several situations in which people can contest a will.
Who can contest a will?
Texas law allows any interested person to challenge a will. These persons are typically family members such as the spouse or children of the deceased. Courts also allow challenges by others who have a reasonable claim against the estate, such as creditors.
What makes a will appear questionable?
Many people privately create wills, and even a handwritten version may be valid in Texas. However, some factors can increase the chances of a challenge.
A will may seem suspicious if it is unfair. Children may inherit significantly unequal amounts or immediate family members may be missing from the list of heirs.
A will may also be vulnerable to challenges if it contains last-minute changes. The testator may have amended the document while acting strangely or when unable to think clearly.
What makes a will invalid?
A testator’s unpopular decisions do not make the will invalid, but certain conditions may. The deceased may not have executed it properly. The deceased may not have been of sound mind on the day of writing or signing the will. He or she may have been under extreme pressure to write or sign the document, or may have done so under false pretenses.
A will is not set in stone. Those who wish to contest it have two years from the death of the testator to do so.