Probate Attorney in Dallas
A will contest is a lawsuit where someone with an interest in the estate
sues to keep a will from being admitted to
probate or sues have the will set aside (if it has already been admitted to probate).
Our firm has years of experience in litigating and settling will contests.
Will Contests Before the Will's Admission to Probate
If a will has not been admitted to probate, then the burden to prove that
the will is valid falls on the will proponent. Typically, when a will
is contested before its admission, neither the contesting party nor the
proponent of the will are permitted to
administer the estate and a temporary administrator is appointed to collect the assets and pay
necessary expenses of the estate.
Will Contests After the Will's Admission to Probate
When a will has been admitted to probate, a personal representative has
been appointed and that person has a duty to defend the will. The burden
is on the will contestant to establish that the will is invalid and should
be set aside.
Who Can Contest a Will?
Any person having an interest in the estate can file a will contest. That
would be persons named as beneficiaries under a will executed by the decedent,
or persons that would inherit if the decedent died intestate (without
a will). Of course, other circumstances can determine when a person has
the right to object to the will. Before a will contest is filed, all wills
and other relating documents should be evaluated to determine if a person
has the legal standing to file a will contest.
What is the Legal Basis of a Will Contest?
Generally, will contests are filed when allegations arise that the testator
(the legal term for the person executing a will) lacked testamentary capacity
or was unduly influenced by someone. Other basis for will contests are
forgery or fraud.