Will Contest Litigation Attorney in Houston
Litigation involving contested wills in Houston, Texas has become commonplace. The death of a loved one in some families brings to the forefront longstanding family disputes and mistrust. Moreover one of the worst feelings there is betrayal. We see a number of instances a year where family members believe that another one of their family has destroyed or hidden a will, or even altered a loved one’s will before they die. Others strongly believe that a family member or close friend has exerted undue influence on the deceased to sign a newer will which favors an unlikely family member or the close friend, or to change a will before they pass to leave a disproportionate amount to one or more family members. It is not uncommon to see cases where the deceased has removed someone from the will completely for no apparent reason. Again, most of these fact situations fall under the category of undue influence or outright fraud.
Contesting Undue Influence in making a will in Houston
If you have a very strong suspicion and evidence of undue influence or of any of the above dubious or unlawful acts, and you are an interested party or would have been a beneficiary under a will, you may either file a will contest at the time Court is first asked to probate the will or estate, or within 2 years after the will is admitted to probate. To do so, you need to hire an experienced Contesting Mental Capacity to Make a will file a contest in the existing probate action or a motion to overturn the probate if the estate has already been probated. You and your attorney will have to gather the facts in accordance with the evidentiary rules in order to present a compelling case. This is done by the use of discovery, witnesses, circumstantial evidence, and sometimes the use of handwriting experts or other experts. The preparation of such a case is usually expensive due to the need for you and your lawyer to put together the pieces of the puzzle to actually prove the wrongdoing.
The second major type of challenge to a will is based on a lack of testamentary capacity. The Texas Estates Code requires a person making a will to be of sound mind at the time of the execution of the will. This is a question of fact to be decided by a judge or jury. The judge or jury will consider documents, hear evidence from witnesses and medical experts as to whether the deceased was of sound mind. There is a five-part test in Texas to determine testamentary capacity. Suffice it to say, the standard for testamentary capacity to execute a will is less than that necessary to execute a contract. Moreover, the capacity is tested at the time of the execution of the will and is not just the general mental condition of the deceased. So, the evidence of incapacity must be within a short time of the execution of the will in order to be persuasive.
Contact our Contesting Probate lawyer at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., and call today.
The attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. have a deep understanding of will contest cases and the elements necessary to properly contest a will. They are not only highly experienced Contesting Lack of Mental Capacity lawyers but are also experienced in the laws of wills, probate, and contests. If you are serious about challenging a will and believe you have some of the facts to do so, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss the merits of your case.