If you believe fraudulent activity influenced your loved one’s decisions while they were creating their will, do not hesitate to contact Staubus and Randall. We might be able to help you challenge the will so that a court could declare it invalid.
We understand the importance of carrying out your family member’s final wishes. They were responsible enough to outline how they wanted their estate handled upon their death. Unfortunately, someone they thought they could trust took advantage of them by helping them prepare a will that doesn’t reflect their best interests or intentions. Now you must face the complicated legal process of challenging the validity of the will, so you and other beneficiaries receive what’s rightfully yours.
At Staubus and Randall, our Dallas estate litigation lawyers have over 100 years of combined legal experience representing clients in estate fraud cases. We are familiar with state laws and the most effective strategies we can use to try to reach your desired outcome. You can depend on us to protect your rights during the litigation process and fight to hold the fraudulent party liable.
Call Staubus and Randall at 214-691-3411 for a confidential consultation to learn more about what we can do for you while contesting a will in Dallas.
Using Fraud to Contest a Will
Texas law requires anyone who contests a will to have grounds for doing so. Fraud is one of the common grounds used to challenge the validity of a deceased individual’s will. You must have evidence that fraud occurred for a judge to rule in your favor. Simply stating you believe an executor, beneficiary, or another party engaged in fraudulent actions isn’t enough.
Various forms of fraud can occur during the process of creating a will. The most common types of fraud are below.
Fraud in Creation of a Will
The person creating a will can’t express their true intentions if someone misleads them before they execute or modify the will. You might have grounds to contest the will if you believe your loved one changed any part of their will because the at-fault party misrepresented specific information.
For example, someone could have told the testator (the maker of the will) about a death in the family to get them to remove that person as a beneficiary in the will. The party misleading the testator might have recommended they receive the assets instead.
Fraud in Execution of a Will
To execution a will, the testator must sign legal documents. Fraud can happen if a person drafts the documents on the testator’s behalf and misleads them into believing the terms contain their intentions. The fraudulent party might have gained the testator’s trust to such a degree that the testator doesn’t think they need to review the contents of the will.
Execution fraud can also involve a medical condition preventing the testator from reading the will, such as failing or loss of vision. The appointed executor could create a document naming them as the beneficiary of the testator’s estate instead of the intended heir.
Fraud Due to Duress
Duress refers to violence, threats, or another action used to force someone to do something against their wishes. Someone could have used physical violence or threats against the testator’s life to force them to sign a will with provisions they don’t want.
Fraud Due to Forgery
Forgery involves someone creating a fake will or changing parts of a will to benefit themselves. A person could draft legal documents as part of the will to cut out the originally named beneficiaries. That way, they can receive all of the testator’s assets upon their death.
Parties Eligible to Contest a Will
Only specific individuals are allowed to contest a will on the grounds of fraud. Texas statute 22.018 permits an interested person or person interested to challenge the validity of a will. An interested person includes:
- Spouse, heir, creditor, devisee, or another party with a claim against or right to property in the administration of an estate; and
- Any person interested in the incapacitated person’s welfare, including a minor.
An interested person is also an individual who suffered financial harm or would be entitled to inheritance upon invalidation of the will.
You can pursue legal action against any party involved in creating, executing, or administering your loved one’s will. The fraudulent party might be the appointed executor of the estate or a named beneficiary. If you believe fraud occurred, it is your right to hold that person accountable.
Deadline to File a Claim for Fraud
There is a timeframe you must follow to contest a will in Texas. You must file the appropriate documents in court to begin the legal process. Once the trial court admits the will to probate, you have two years to challenge the validity of the will.
However, you don’t have to wait for probate to begin to pursue legal action against the fraudulent party. If you want to file before probate begins, you can. Since probate involves a judge validating a will, filing before then could benefit your case.
Contact Staubus and Randall
The Dallas fraudulent will contest lawyers of Staubus and Randall have the experience and knowledge necessary to take on the most complicated estate matters. When you need to contest a will, we will use a strategic approach to meet your needs and try to reach the best possible result. Our legal team knows what it takes to get the job done.
Proving fraud occurred during the creation or execution of a will can be a challenge. You need a dedicated legal team on your side throughout the entire process. We will guide you through every step and provide the support you need to get through this difficult time in your life.
Our decades of experience and favorable case results have earned us a stellar reputation among the legal community. We receive multiple awards and accolades from prestigious organizations, such as Super Lawyers and Martindale Hubbell.
If you want to contest a will in Dallas, contact Staubus and Randall right now. One of our Dallas fraudulent will contest lawyers will be happy to meet you for a consultation to discuss the circumstances and advise whether we can help. Call 214-691-3411 or reach out to us online today.