Probate Attorney in Dallas
A will contest is a lawsuit where someone with an interest in the estate sues to keep a will from being admitted to probate or sues have the will set aside (if it has already been admitted to probate).
Our firm has years of experience in litigating and settling will contests.
Will Contests Before the Will’s Admission to Probate
If a will has not been admitted to probate, then the burden to prove that the will is valid falls on the will proponent. Typically, when a will is contested before its admission, neither the contesting party nor the proponent of the will are permitted to administer the estate and a temporary administrator is appointed to collect the assets and pay necessary expenses of the estate while the contest is pending.
Will Contests After the Will’s Admission to Probate
When a will has been admitted to probate, a personal representative has been appointed and that person has a duty to defend the will. The burden is on the will contestant to establish that the will is invalid and should be set aside.
Who Can Contest a Will?
Any person having an interest in the estate can file a will contest. That would be persons named as beneficiaries under an earlier will executed by the decedent, or people who would inherit if the decedent died intestate (without a will). Of course, other circumstances can determine when a person has the right to object to the will. Before a will contest is filed, all wills and other relating documents should be evaluated to determine if a person has the legal standing to file a will contest.
What is the Legal Basis of a Will Contest?
Generally, most will contests include allegations that the testator (the legal term for the person executing a will) lacked testamentary capacity or was unduly influenced by someone else. Other basis for will contests include forgery and fraud.