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Do I have a valid reason to contest my grandfather's Will, and when and how should it be done?

Dallas, TX |

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago. He was 90 years old, diagnosed with dementia, and created a Will (I will refer to as his original Will) about 20 years ago that went unchanged until the last 3 years. The "original" Will had 5 beneficiaries getting an equal share of my grandfather's entire estate. 3 years ago, my uncle was taken completely out of my grandfather's original Will due to a big falling out between the two. 3 or 4 months ago this summer), his Will was then changed 2 or 3 DIFFERENT times (that I know of) within a month, completely removing my brother and my cousin, then adding back my cousin and Uncle. My uncle now is the executor of his Will and stands to inherit almost everything. Do I have a valid reason to contest, and if so, when should I do it?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

You need to have a lawyer look at this, right away. There are some major red flags. It is not clear how the Wills were done and redone, but my strong guess is that this was NOT done through an attorney. Given your grandfather's age and illness, his capacity is certainly in question and he also could have been subject to undue influence. Wills are given deference by the courts, so the burden of proof is against you and it will not be a difficult case, by any means. In order to prevail, you will need the assistance of a very skilled probate litigation attorney. You should seek advice from such a person, as soon as possible.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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Posted

In order for a will to be valid, Texas law requires an individual to have testamentary capacity or be of "sound mind" at the time he executes his will. If your grandfather had dementia at the time he changed his will, there may, at the very least, be questions about his capacity to make a new will. The facts you provide raise a number of other possible concerns as well. It would be to your advantage to consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate litigation.

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Posted

Yes!!!

Need to act right away.

Call.

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Posted

If your grandfather was diagnosed with dementia then he may not have had the mental ability to re write his will. You should contact an estate planning attorney right away so that you can best explore your options.

The information is not, nor is it intended to supplant legal advice. The reader should not consider this information to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship and should always seek the advice of a qualified estate-planning attorney regarding your own situation.

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