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How to Handle Someone Contesting My Parent’s Will in Texas

 Posted on November 27, 2023 in Estate Planning and Administration

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.

Assemble the Right Team

Work closely with the named executor and the estate planning attorney who drafted the will to formulate a vigorous response. The executor must defend the will’s validity on behalf of the estate. An attorney can file all necessary court paperwork and build the most robust legal case for upholding the will.

Gather Relevant Documents and Evidence

Gather any documents, communications, medical records, affidavits, and other evidence that can support your position and justify your parents’ intentions. This may include items like:

  • Earlier will drafts showed consistent wishes
  • Your parent’s handwritten or audio notes
  • Medical records demonstrating mental capacity
  • Witness affidavits attesting to valid execution
  • Evidence of relationships showing a lack of undue influence

It is critical to rebut the contester’s allegations and disprove their evidence comprehensively.

Explore Alternate Dispute Resolution Options

If strained family relationships and emotions appear to be fueling the will dispute, suggest entering private mediation first before diving into contentious court litigation. An experienced and impartial probate mediator or arbitrator can help facilitate respectful discussions and lead to a resolution that avoids airing grievances publicly at trial.

Contact a Hood County, TX Estate Planning Attorney

Thoughtful preparation and legal representation can make all the difference in protecting your parent’s wishes. A Tarrant County, TX estate planning lawyer can help you with these accusations. Call Cain & Kiel Law at 817-645-1717 so you can start fighting back against the claims.

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