Anyone who may have an interest to gain from a will can challenge it. The most successful challengers are usually the spouses, and the most successful grounds are that the person lacked testamentary capacity or that the person was unduly influenced or persuaded to write the will a certain way. That being said, It is typically very difficult to challenge a will. Wills are seen by the courts as the voice of the testator, the person who wrote the will. Since that person is no longer here to speak about his or her wishes, the courts stick pretty stringently to the will.
This 2 part series of articles will identify the typical bases for challenging a will including:
Part 1 addresses Challenges based on Testamentary Capacity and Challenges based on Fraud, Forgery, and Undue Influence. Part 2 will address Challenges based on the existence of a newer Will, Challenges based on the lack of sufficient and appropriate witnesses and Challenges based on residence of the testator.
The law requires that only adults 18 years of age or older have the capacity to create a will. However, in some jurisdictions, minors who serve in the military or minors who are married are given the right to make a will. Adults 18 years of age or older are presumed to have testamentary capacity. When litigation arises that challenges an adult's testamentary capacity, it is usually on the basis that the adult has senility, dementia, insanity, was under the influence of a substance, or in some other way lacked the mental capacity to form a will. Basically, to challenge a will based on mental capacity, you must show that the testator (the person who created the will) did not understand the consequences of making the will at the time of the will creation. More specifically, the person who created the will must understand:
You can challenge a will by showing that the will was procured by fraud, forgery, or undue influence. The term "undue influence" merely means that the person lacked the free will to bargain because of the manipulator. This usually involves someone manipulating a vulnerable person into leaving all or much of the property to the manipulator.
If you feel you have legal standing and need to contest a will, you could have an uphill battle ahead of you. For this reason, you should consult an Amarillo probate attorney who can help. Many people have similar questions and go through the same line of questioning when deciding how to proceed with this type of decision. It can be and often is critical that you get legal help understanding the basics of contesting a will. The best way to get this understanding is to contact an experienced probate attorney near you. Stop and take a breath and call an Amarillo probate attorney who has had decades of experience. Pick up the phone and call Amarillo Probate Attorney, Bill Cornett. Bill is your choice as an experienced probate attorney in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. Don’t waste another minute. Call him today.
Your most important action may end up being the phone call that you make to your Amarillo probate lawyer. In the Texas Panhandle that call should be to Amarillo attorney Bill Cornett. Whether you need assistance with a will, probate, or administration of an estate or a contested probate, contact the Law Office of Bill Cornett. Be smart…remember these phone numbers (806) 374-9498 or (800) 658-6618.
Bill Cornett, Amarillo Attorney, with Cornett Law Firm, offers affordable, qualified services as an experienced personal injury lawyer and probate attorney. Bill also has experience in estate planning and agriculture law. Sit down with Bill at his office located at 612 S. Van Buren St. in Amarillo TX by calling (806) 374-9498 or (800) 658-6618 TODAY to schedule a free consultation.
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Bill Cornett grew up on a farm in Knox City, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law School. Bill was licensed to practice law in the State of Texas in 1973.