Will Contest Attorney in Schertz, Texas
Dealing with the legalities of will contests can be a daunting task, especially during a time when emotions are running high. I understand that you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what steps to take next. It's not just about grasping the legal aspects; it's also about feeling supported and respected throughout the process.
As the principal attorney at Carl J. Mangine, Attorney at Law, PLLC, I am here to provide the guidance you need during these challenging times. Based in Schertz, Texas, I serve clients across Guadalupe County, Universal City, Converse, New Braunfels, and San Antonio. My aim is to clarify the complexities of will contests and guide you through each step of the process.
Understanding Will Contests
Contesting a will is a complex process that requires an intimate understanding of the law. In general terms, a will contest arises when someone believes a will doesn't accurately reflect the true intentions of the deceased, or if there are suspicions of foul play such as fraud or undue influence.
It's important to note that contesting a will is not a common occurrence. In fact, about 99% of wills pass through probate without any issue. However, when a will is contested, it's usually done so in probate court after the maker of the will has passed away.
You might be wondering who can contest a will. Well, you must have legal standing, meaning you must be an interested party. This could mean you would've been an heir under state laws of intestate succession if there was no will, or you were a beneficiary of a previous will or the current will be submitted to probate.
Now, standing alone isn't enough. You must also have valid grounds for contesting the will. Common reasons for challenging a will include questions about the mental state of the testator, the age of the testator, possible fraud or undue influence, and the contents of the will itself. Each of these grounds has specific criteria that must be met.
For instance, the testator should be of "sound mind" when creating the will. They must understand what a will does, what they own, and who would inherit their property. If you believe the testator didn't meet these criteria, it might be grounds for contesting the will.
Finally, keep in mind that the process to challenge a will varies by state and has specific deadlines. Typically, you get a few months to challenge the will. If you don't come forward to challenge the will by the deadline, you may lose your chance.
My firm is here to help you navigate these complexities. I'll work diligently to gather the necessary evidence, build a compelling case, and guide you through each step of the process.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
In Texas, there are several valid reasons to contest a will. These include:
Undue Influence: If you believe the testator (the person who made the will) was manipulated or pressured into altering their will, this might be grounds for a contest. Proving undue influence can be challenging, but I can help gather the necessary evidence and build a compelling case.
Fraud: Fraud typically involves deceit, such as forging the testator's signature or tricking them into signing a document they don't understand. As your attorney, I will conduct a thorough investigation to uncover any potential fraudulent activities.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity: The testator must be of sound mind when creating their will. If you believe the testator lacked the capacity to understand what they were doing when they signed their will, it could form grounds for a contest. I can help gather the necessary evidence to support this claim.
Improper Execution: A will must meet certain legal requirements to be valid. If these requirements are not met, the will can be contested. As an experienced attorney, I can review the circumstances of the will's creation and execution to identify any potential problems.
Each of these grounds has specific criteria that must be met, and I can assist you in understanding these nuances.
Understanding the No-Contest Clause in Texas
A crucial aspect of will contesting that deserves attention is the no-contest clause. In Texas, like many other states, a no-contest clause can be included in a will. This clause is essentially a provision that discourages beneficiaries from challenging the will. It states that if a beneficiary contests the will and loses, they could forfeit their inheritance under the will.
In Texas, courts tend to uphold no-contest clauses unless the contestant has just cause for challenging the will and they're bringing the contest in good faith. This means if you have legitimate concerns about the validity of the will, such as suspicions of fraud or undue influence, you may still be able to contest the will without risking your inheritance.
However, it's important to tread carefully. Contesting a will is a significant decision and should not be taken lightly.
Will Contest Attorney Serving Schertz, Texas
At Carl J. Mangine, Attorney at Law, PLLC, my objective is to make the process of contesting a will as clear and stress-free as possible. Based in Schertz, Texas, I'm here to guide you through each step, providing the legal guidance and personal attention you deserve.