Will Contests, Related Litigation, & Estate Administration in Dallas
A person’s last will and testament is one of the most important documents a person signs in their entire life. It is his or her last statement on earth and speaks for them post-death.
Spencer Law, P.C. | Strong and determined will contest & estate attorneys in Dallas
A person’s last will and testament is one of the most important documents a person signs in their entire life. It is his or her last statement on earth and speaks for them post-death. A will is a legal document that, if executed properly, can be probated and determines how a decedent’s property passes after his or her death. For a will to be valid, it must be in writing and executed (signed) by a testator (person signing the will) at a time when the testator is over the age of 18, has his or her mental abilities and in the presence of two witnesses over the age of 14. A will can also be valid if it is wholly written in the handwriting of the testator and signed by him or her. The will must be probated, that is to say, found by a court to be valid before it has any binding effect.
Filing a Will Contest
Unfortunately, usually later in life when a person loses his or her mental abilities, unscrupulous people can take advantage of a loved one and cause a will to be prepared that does not reflect the true intentions of the testator. These conditions and the aging process make the testator vulnerable, preventing them from protecting themselves against the overreaching of a third party. In the event that a will does not properly express the true intentions of the decedent, the will can be contested by those interested in the estate based upon lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud or forgery. A will contest cannot be filed until after the testator is deceased, because, under the law, a person’s right to execute a will cannot be abridged.
It is important to hire an attorney to file a will contest quickly because there are advantages to filing your contest before the will is admitted to probate. The only notice of a will contest that is required in Texas is a posted notice on the courthouse bulletin board (usually where they file for foreclosure sales) until the Monday following the expiration of 10 days after the will is filed for probate – such a contest is said to be pre-probate. However, a will contest can be filed up to 2 years after the date of the court order admitting the will to probate – a post-probate contest. If a contest is not filed within 2 years following the date of the order probating the will, then the contest/claim is forever barred, unless the will is a fraud or was forged.
At Spencer Law, P.C., our Dallas estate law attorneys are committed to fighting for the intentions of a decedent and his or her loved ones by setting the Will aside as if it had never been signed to restore the inheritance plan of the decedent that was in place at a time when there is no question about the decedent’s capacity. In addition, if the decedent was taken advantage of and over-powered to the point of being unable to resist such pressure of signing whatever was presented to avoid such duress. Such pressure is undue influence and a will contest can be filed seeking to rectify and correct such injustice.
Dallas Estate Attorneys Helping You Correct Injustice!
Based in Dallas, Texas, our will contest law firm serves individuals and families with complex and often emotional inheritance disputes. We understand how stressful it can be when your loved one’s wishes and desires have been manipulated or disregarded altogether, and we are prepared to fight for you to get the inheritance you have expected all your life.
For more than 30 years, firm founder R. Kevin Spencer, along with Zachary E. Johnson and Brendan Harvell, have assisted clients throughout the State of Texas with issues involving:
- Lack of testamentary capacity (mental abilities) to understand and execute will
- Undue influence — forcing a testator to sign a will he/she would not have signed, but for the pressure and duress
- Breach of fiduciary duty (breaching duties as executor or administrator)
- Theft of fiduciary property
- Removal of executors and administrators of estates
When you consult with Spencer Law, P.C., you can expect us to treat you with compassion and respect. We will give you personal service and welcome your participation in the preparation of your case. We recognize how important it is to protect the intentions of the ones you care for the most and to protect your inheritance. Our team is known for fighting to correct the injustice of an invalid will that does not reflect the decedent’s true intentions.
We will work to develop a legal strategy that will effectively address your concerns and work to resolve your issues, hopefully, through a family settlement agreement. If the opposing party is unresponsive to our requests or to amicable negotiation, we will not hesitate to pursue them aggressively in an effort to promote your best interests in court.
Learn about how Spencer Law, P.C., handles trust contests and disputes.
Defending a Will | We Fight Hard to Uphold the Validity of Your Loved One’s Will
When a will you have offered for probate has been contested, we would be proud to represent you in defending its validity either by presenting evidence that it was executed properly with the decedent having his or her capacity or that there was no undue influence. A will is one of the most important documents a person will sign in his or her entire life. If it has been executed properly, regardless of what the end result might be, we will defend it in an effort to secure your inheritance. We are ready to go to work for and with you to uphold the will that you believe to be the true last will of a decedent.
Call Spencer Law, P.C., Today
Spencer Law, P.C., invites you to contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your estate and trust matters. We are located in Dallas, Texas. We travel throughout Texas to serve our clients. Our business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and evenings and weekends by appointment. Ask us about our hourly fee and contingency fee arrangements.