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Hood County estate planning lawyerHaving a will contested can derail the probate process and create bitter family conflicts. If someone is challenging your deceased parent’s will, try to stay calm and take proactive steps to resolve the dispute strategically. A Texas attorney can help you figure out a plan.

Understand the Grounds for Contesting the Will

Do not ignore a will contest notice. Find out who exactly is contesting the will and what their specific grounds are alleging. Common reasons for challenging a will’s validity in Texas include:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity - Claiming the testator lacked a sound mind and ability to make decisions when the will was signed due to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other mental incapacity.
  • Undue influence - Alleging someone coerced or manipulated the testator into making decisions against their wishes through threats, pressure tactics, isolation, or by taking advantage of a fragile mental state.
  • Improper execution - Asserting the will was not properly signed and witnessed according to Texas law. Issues like missing signatures, undated wills, or no witnesses present can be alleged.
  • Forgery - Claiming the testator’s signature was forged or otherwise inauthentic.
  • Discovery of a newer will - Arguing that a more recent will or codicil exists that invalidates portions of the current contested will.

Clarifying precisely what grounds the will contest is based on will drive your defense strategy.


Hood County estate planning lawyerTexas has unique laws regarding trusts and estates that allow residents to maximize inheritances for their families. Proper estate planning is essential to take advantage of these laws and avoid unnecessary taxes or legal disputes. A Texas lawyer can help you with key strategies you can use to preserve more assets for your loved ones.

Use Trusts to Avoid Probate

Texas allows the use of revocable living trusts to avoid the probate process on assets placed in the trust. Upon death, assets in a revocable living trust can be distributed immediately to beneficiaries without court intervention. This saves time, legal fees, and the potential for legal challenges. You should consider creating revocable living trusts and re-titling assets, including real estate, bank accounts, and investments into the trust. This ensures a smooth transition of assets upon death.

Take Advantage of Texas Estate Tax Laws

Texas does not have a state estate or inheritance tax. This means upon death, you can pass all assets to heirs estate tax-free. However, federal estate taxes still apply to estates over $12.06 million (in 2022). Proper planning, including using trusts and gifting assets while living, can minimize federal estate taxes. Creating irrevocable trusts to remove assets from the taxable estate for large estates can maximize inheritances.


Hood County probate lawyerServing as executor of an estate in Texas comes with significant legal and financial obligations. Settling an estate through the probate process involves intricate steps and rigid deadlines that can easily overwhelm unprepared executors, which is why working with a Texas lawyer is ideal. Even the most competent executor can make simple but costly errors that lead to family disputes, tax penalties, lawsuits, and improper distributions.

Executor mistakes not only jeopardize the deceased’s final wishes, but also add stress at an already difficult time for loved ones. By understanding the most common pitfalls executors face, you can avoid these missteps and effectively carry out administrator duties.

Failing to Locate All Relevant Estate Planning Documents

Before any other step, the executor must collect and review the decedent’s core estate planning documents to identify beneficiaries, assets, debts, and distribution instructions. These important papers include the last will and testament, revocable living trusts, life insurance policies with specified beneficiaries, 401(k) plans and IRAs with named recipients, and any other materials impacting asset distribution. Missing or outdated documents can derail the entire probate administration process.


Tarrant County, TX estate planning lawyerRegardless of whether you have an estate plan in place yet or not, if you are an adult in the U.S. and you have not yet engaged in digital estate planning, it is time to make some effort in service of this particular legally-enforceable endeavor. No matter what your circumstances may be, digital estate planning will help to ensure that your wishes concerning your digital footprint are ultimately honored in the event of your medical incapacitation or death. Making this effort will also help to ensure that you do not leave behind a digital mess that your loved ones will be compelled to clean up.

Protecting Your Interests

Take a moment to estimate how many password-protected accounts you access online every month or two. If you are like most adults, you bank, share digital media, upload evidence of memories, network, and otherwise engage with the electronic world via dozens of accounts on a fairly regular basis. Creating a digital estate plan will allow you to articulate what you want to bef done with those accounts – and by whom – in the event of your death or incapacitation so that those wishes can become legally enforceable.

Mitigating Stresses for Your Loved Ones

If you do not leave behind any directions for your loved ones, they may not be able to access your accounts easily. And even if they can get into your accounts, they may not have any idea what you want them to do with them or any of the assets associated with them. They will need to guess what you would have wanted, which can be a very stressful reality for individuals who are grieving.  


Cleburne estate planning lawyerIt is not often that the American public is exposed to informed discussions about the subject of estate planning. Most often, individuals are prompted to think about their own potential need for an estate plan when the news features a story about a dispute concerning a deceased celebrity’s estate. Due to the ways in which popular culture and the media treat this subject, it can be easy for someone who is neither retired nor fabulously wealthy to assume that they do not yet need to concern themselves with the task of estate planning. However, every legally independent adult can – and should – benefit from the advantages that estate planning affords.

Why Every Adult Should Have an Estate Plan

If you own any valuable or sentimental property, you will want a will or trust in place to ensure that these assets will pass to the beneficiaries of your choosing in the event of your death. However, estate planning is about more than just asset distribution. Parents can use estate plans to name potential guardians for their minor children in the event that they unexpectedly pass away before their children reach adulthood. Those who spend significant time online can use estate planning tools to better ensure that their digital footprint is managed according to their wishes after they are gone. Business owners can utilize estate planning to better ensure that the enterprise that they have worked so hard to build does not suffer in the wake of the unexpected loss of its owner.

However, one of the primary reasons why every adult – regardless of their financial or family status – needs an estate plan is that it can help to protect their interests in the event of incapacitation. If you are ever involved in a car accident, for example, and are so injured that you cannot communicate your preferences concerning medical treatment to your care team, having a power of attorney designation and a living will or other advance healthcare directives in place will ensure that your wishes are honored if you cannot advocate on your own behalf. All adults can directly benefit from estate planning in this way.

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