What Happens When A Will Or Probate Is Contested?
Contesting a will or probate is possible in certain circumstances. While it may seem like an easy option to challenge the validity of a will, this is never advised unless there are significant reasons to do so.
A will can be contested if enough legal evidence proves its validity. This frequently only occurs when the heirs are unhappy with what they have been given in the will or don’t think certain assets should go to who they believe they should go to. If any of this is true, then contesting a will may be an option worth looking into further.
The Potential Reasons For Doing This Include:
- There is evidence that the person didn’t willingly sign the document.
- The creation of the will violates state law.
- The person writing the will was not of sound mind.
- A third party influenced the person writing the will.
- You believe the document was created by fraudulent means.
You’ll need a professional probate attorney to contest a will, and it has to be contested within 6 months after the death of the person. Otherwise, it can no longer be done legally. Once this deadline is up, it no longer works in your favor to contest a will or probate.
What Happens After Contesting Probate?
If the will is contested, it means that there must be a court hearing with those who contest the will and those who drafted it. The judge will decide whether the case has merit and if so, they may invalidate or nullify the will altogether.
This can be costly and time-consuming. As mentioned above, one major reason to contest a will or probate is suspicion of undue influence on the person who wrote it out. However, this isn’t enough evidence alone as there must be further proof, such as medical records proving that they could not make sound decisions due to health concerns when writing their last will.
When you contest a will or probate, everything stops until a judge settles the case, which means no money distribution can take place. There are also costs involved, which vary depending on many factors, including where you live and how complex your case is.
What To Do?
- The best way to contest a will is by hiring an attorney who specializes in probate and wills. An attorney can also answer any questions you may have along the way and advise you on the best ways to move forward with your situation.
- If you lose your case, the other party would be able to claim up for legal fees, so you must be confident with your reasons for contesting the will before pursuing it.
There may also be other options available depending on the circumstances of the case, which can also help decide how best to move forward.
Contact Elissa I. Henry Law Firm
Proving a will invalid or challenging the contents of a will can be difficult and stressful without assistance from a professional attorney. A professional can guide you through these matters and can represent you in court.
The complicated nature of the legal process and the time constraints involved with some inheritance cases mean that hiring a qualified probate lawyer to assist you is your best option.
Elissa Henry offers probate services in Texas, including will refusal. At our law firm, our practice areas include personal injury, wills, estate planning, probate, and immigration. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help.