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 addressed Challenges based on Testamentary Capacity and Challenges based on Fraud, Forgery, and Undue Influence. Part 2 addresses 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.
A newer will trump an older will. Typically, there are requirements to destroy the older will. It is best to always destroy or show an intent to void any outdated will, should one decide to change or update his or her will. Many people even state in the new will that the will is intended to trump and/or void the previous will. This is why dating the will documents is so important. The court's interest is to fulfill the wishes of the testator. If a valid legal will surfaces that is dated more recently than the will being executed, the court is likely to follow the newer will.
A typed hard copy of the will must be dated and signed by the testator in the presence of at least two adult witnesses. Most states require that the witnesses not be people who are named as heirs in the will. About half of the states do allow handwritten, unwitnessed wills. These are called "holographic" wills and they must be written and signed entirely in the testator's handwriting, and in some states, they must be dated. Holographic wills are the easiest wills to challenge, because there are no witnesses. In the case of a holographic will, the court must be convinced that the entire thing is in the testator's handwriting and that it was created to serve as a will of the testator.
As long as the will was valid and legal according to the laws of the state where the testator had his or her permanent home, then the will is valid in any state where the testator dies.
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.