Challenges to wills may be the subject of many television dramas, with everyone from butlers to long-lost cousins waltzing in to deprive rightful heirs of their fortunes. In reality, in Texas, there are limits to who may challenge a will and why. 

Here’s what you need to know as you head into the probate process.

Who may challenge a will?

A will may be challenged only by the following individuals.

  • Named beneficiaries 
  • Disinherited individuals
  • Heirs who would have been entitled to an inheritance had the deceased died without a will

Before any challenge moves forward, the challenger must show that they have standing. Challengers have just two years from the date of the start of the probate case to challenge the will.

What are the grounds for challenging a will?

A challenger may only challenge the will on the following grounds.

  1. Lack of testamentary capacity. This means the decedent was not of sound mind when they were creating, executing, or updating a will and was incapable of understanding what they were doing or why they were doing it.
  2. Undue influence. This challenge claims that another beneficiary coerced, pressured, or conned a decedent into changing their will. 
  3. Improper execution. If the will was not legally drafted or executed according to Texas law, the beneficiaries may challenge the will.
  4. Fraud. This covers cases when the decedent was deceived into signing or updating the will.
  5. Forgery. This challenge claims the will was forged.

Some wills include no contest clauses in the hopes that beneficiaries will be deterred from challenging wills. These clauses state that beneficiaries who challenge the will and are wrong forfeit their entire inheritance. If such a clause exists but you are considering a challenge to a will, you and your attorney should think carefully about whether you have sufficient evidence to back your claims.

Get Help Today

The Probate Law Group can help guide you through the probate process and can help you challenge the will if necessary. 

Reach out to our firm to get the help you need today.