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Will Contests and Probate Litigation

Posted by attorney Gary Ashmore

When an individual dies in the State of Texas with a Will, the Will is submitted to the Probate Court. Probate is the process by which a Will is legally recognized. Do any of the following reactions sound familiar to you?

“That Will doesn’t make any sense."

“That’s not what dad told me he would do with his estate."

“Isn’t it strange that he only started coming around when dad was sick and now he’s inheriting everything?"

“She could barely remember my name. How on earth could mom know she was changing her Will?"

Of course, an individual can dispose of his or her assets as he or she desires—but sometimes, an individual can be misled or taken advantage of, especially the elderly who may be failing in health and mental agility. Frequently a family member, caregiver or other greedy person will “unduly" influence someone who is suffering from a disabling mental or physical disease. They may try to influence the individual to make changes to a Will that are detrimental to others who would have rightfully received the inheritance.

In fact, you may have been wrongfully excluded from your inheritance because someone took advantage of your loved one who was suffering from mental incapacity and did not have legal capacity to make a Will, change a Will or create a new Will. Or this person may have exerted undue influence over your loved one, emotionally (or even physically) forcing them to make changes to the estate plan that your loved one didn’t understand or want to make.

These are very real methods by which someone might “cheat" you out of your inheritance or “steal" assets from your loved one…assets that should rightfully be yours. Your loved one may not have been mentally able to make changes to his or her Will under the law, but was forced to do so by someone who thought he could get away with it!

You may only have one chance to prevent someone from taking assets that belong to you!

Under Texas laws, you have only two years to file a Will contest after the Will has been admitted to probate. This means that once the Will has been submitted to the Probate Court, you have only two years from that time to try to convince the court that you are an heir of the estate and are entitled to an inheritance.

With respect to mental capacity issues, our attorneys work with a highly experienced team of expert medical doctors and nurses who assist by providing opinions regarding mental capacity issues that so often afflict the elderly. I work with experts throughout Texas who provide opinions or testimony regarding dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other mentally debilitating conditions that affect one’s ability to know what he or she is legally doing.

If you feel that someone has wrongfully taken your inheritance, contact me today. I will investigate not only mental capacity and undue influence issues, but will also explore other legal reasons why a Will may not be valid and an inheritance should be yours.

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