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Author: Tony Ray

Can You Probate An Invalid Will In Texas

Invalid wills can be admitted to probate if not contested The idea to take away from the case discussed in this article and similar cases is that this will had been admitted to probate. If the family had not contested it, the “friend” would have taken all the estate. Even invalid wills sometimes get admitted to probate as this one did. So to the question of “Can you probate an invalid will in Texas?” The answer is yes if the proper beneficiaries don’t take action quickly to contest the will. Recent Case In The Estate of Romo (not that Romo), the El Paso Court of Appeals ruled on a will contest case. The will had been filed by the testator’s “friend” and the judge admitted it to probate. It left the testator’s estate to the friend. Several months after the will had been admitted to probate, a will contest was filed by the testator’s family. The family offered a prior will that left all to the family. The will contest was filed because, allegedly, the testator did not have the mental capacity to make the new will and he was being unduly influenced by the friend. The notary was the first witness. She testified that the testator was not present when the two witnesses signed the will.  After the notary testified, the trial judge ruled that the new will was...

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10 Reasons Not To Allow Pre-Death Will Contest

Background Texas does not allow a pre-death (Antemortem) will contest. 254 sw2 862. As long as the testator is alive, Texas considers his will changeable and therefore, a will contest would be a waste of time. However, a few states allow pre-death will contest including Ohio, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Alaska. A few states like New Jersey are considering allowing them. 10 Reasons Not To Allow Pre-Death Will Contest Will Sleeth, an attorney in Williamsburg, Va wrote an article about pre-death will contest. He explained what it is: While the antemortem probate schemes vary by state, in general, they permit a testator to seek a ruling from the court (while he is still alive) that his will is legally valid… Proponents of antemortem probate point to several benefits to the practice, including: it provides for certainty and avoids family disputes after death, it ensures that the testator can testify in favor of the will (a practice that he obviously could not do after he dies), and it discourages challenges to a will because if a person opposes the validity of the will while the testator is alive, that person would almost certainly be cut off by the testator (an(d) (he) may be fully disinherited in a later will, if he was not already). Mr. Sleeth goes on to state that he believes the practice is detrimental. He list 10 reason...

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Do You Have To Prove Up The Will, The Codicil Or Both In Texas

What is a Codicil A codicil is a document that adds to, deletes from or supplements an existing will. It is inseparably dependent upon that will. It must be executed with the same formalities as a will. What Must You Prove up If You Have a Will and a Codicil There are several situations where you have proof of a will but not the codicil or proof of the codicil but not the will. Sometimes you may just have the codicil and not have the will. Do you have to prove up the will, the codicil or both in Texas? What do you have to prove at a probate hearing to have the will and/or the codicil admitted to probate? Proof usually involves calling the witnesses to the will and/or the codicil and having them testify about the execution of them. You may also use a self-proving affidavit if one was used. In extreme cases, you may be able to prove up a will by having someone testify about the signatures on the documents. This article deals with those situations where you can prove one but not both of the documents. Texas Cases Dealing with Codicils If you only have a codicil and do not have the will, the codicil can be admitted to probate if it is testamentary in nature and meets the requirements of a will. “There’s...

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Do You Legally Know What Your Attorney Knows?

Introduction An attorney is an agent for the person (principal) that he represents. Agency law imputes the knowledge of the agent to the principal. If an agent knows something, the law says that the principal knows it as well. Facts An interesting case out of Ohio had the question of do you legally know what your attorney knows come up in relation to a will contest. In Ohio, if you don’t disclose a will within a year, your inheritance is void. In the case, the appellants contested a will based on testamentary capacity. They won the case and the will was not admitted to probate. However, during the trial, the appellees’ attorney testified about a prior will of the decedent. (People appealing a case are the appellants. They appeal the case against the appellees.) That prior will would be admitted to probate. The appellants attempted to void the gifts to the appellees in the prior will because they had not disclosed the prior will within a year after the death of the testator. In order to deny the appellees their property, the appellants were required to produce evidence that the appellees : (1) knew of the existence of the prior will for one year after the testator’s death; (2) had the power to control the will; and (3) without reasonable cause, intentionally concealed or neglected to offer the will...

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London Courts Face Explosion Of Will Contest Cases

Explosion of Will Contest Cases The evening standard reports that London courts are facing an explosion of will contest cases. “There has been a huge explosion of inheritance disputes. More people will be aware that they can do something about it when they are cut out of their parents’ will.” “We are seeing an increase in Inheritance Act claims brought by adult children …. claims of this nature will only become more common,” Ageing Population Cause of Explosion of Will Contest Cases An ageing population and rising levels of dementia have fueled a sharp rise in will disputes. “People are living longer and we have a generation of children who are reliant on their parents.” Some children (and, based on my experience, “friends” and “caretakers”) are taking advantage of the elderly. The article “warned that a rise in court fees was leading more people to try to represent themselves.” “(T)he end result could be catastrophic for some.” While the court fees are not as high in Texas as they are in the UK, a person trying to represent themselves in a will contest case in Texas may be facing a catastrophe for them and their...

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About me

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle litigation cases related to inheritance disputes including will contest, related property disputes and associated torts throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Tyler, Texas. Contact Robert