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Dallas Lawyers to Contest Wills Because of Mistake

If you believe your loved one executed their will by mistake, you should contact Staubus and Randall immediately. You might have legal grounds to contest the will in court.

With over 100 years of combined experience, our legal team can review the circumstances and create a strategy to try to resolve the matter favorably. We understand the overwhelming feeling of knowing the will your relative executed doesn’t reflect their final wishes. The mistakes they made during the execution of the will could prevent you from receiving the assets you know your loved one wanted to leave to you.

You can count on our Dallas estate litigation lawyers to provide the representation and guidance you need to navigate the complicated litigation process. We can obtain evidence to prove that a mistake makes your family member’s will invalid. You will have a dedicated advocate by your side until the end.

For a free consultation to learn more about Staubus and Randall and what we can do for you, call 214-691-3411 today.

Elements of a Valid Will

A will must involve various elements to be considered valid. These elements include:

Document in Writing

The will must be written by hand or typed and printed from a computer. The testator (the person making the will) must also sign the will in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the document.

A witness can only be a person at least 14 years old who isn’t benefiting from the will. In other words, a beneficiary can’t be a witness to the execution of a will.

Legal Capacity

The testator must have the legal capacity to create and execute a will. Legal capacity means the testator is:

  • 18 years old or older;
  • A member of the United States armed forces; or
  • Has been lawfully married.

Testamentary Capacity

The testator has testamentary capacity if they are of sound mind and have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing. That means they know they’re creating a will, and they understand the effects that the contents of the document will have upon their death. They also understand the extent and nature of any property they own and the distribution of their assets.

Testamentary Intent

Testamentary intent means the testator signs the will voluntarily and freely without the undue influence of another party. The testator must also intend to outline their wishes for the distribution of their property in writing.

Mistakes Involved in a Will Contest

mistake signing willMultiple mistakes could occur that allow you to contest your loved one’s will. The most common include:

  • Execution mistake – A mistake in execution involves the type of document signed by the testator. For example, the testator might have thought they were signing something other than a will.
  • Inducement mistake – Although the documents were correct, the testator mistakenly believed a fact regarding the will’s contents. For example, they thought they owned a specific asset they wanted to leave behind to a beneficiary but forgot they transferred ownership to someone else a long time ago.
  • Language mistake – A mistake with the language contained in a will could make it invalid. For example, the testator wanted to bequeath their property to a specific beneficiary but mistakenly listed the wrong person’s name.

Parties Entitled to Challenge a Will

You can contest a will due to a mistake if you are an interested party. Texas statute 22.018 defines an interested party as a:

  • An heir, creditor, devisee, spouse, or another person who has a claim against or right to the administration of the estate in question; and
  • Any individual interested in an incapacitated person’s welfare, including any minor child.

You must have legal grounds to challenge a will. It’s not enough to believe you deserve to receive a specific asset over another beneficiary or don’t agree with the provisions in the documents attached to your loved one’s will. There needs to be evidence that proves that the will is invalid and unenforceable.

Texas Time Limit to Contest a Will

In Texas, you must follow a statute of limitations, which is a specific timeframe, to challenge a will if you believe a mistake makes it invalid. The timeframe begins on the date the court admits the will to probate. You must file your case in probate court within two years of that date. If the deadline passes, you won’t have another opportunity to contest the will.

You don’t necessarily have to wait until the probate process begins to file your claim. In fact, it could be beneficial to pursue your case before the will begins probate. That’s because probate involves a court determining whether a will is valid. If the court validates the will before you file, proving the will is invalid will be more challenging.

Why Hire Staubus and Randall?

The Dallas lawyers of Staubus and Randall who contest wills based upon mistakes made by the testator have represented clients in cases like yours since 1992. We know the state laws and legal procedures we must follow to prove that a will is invalid. The mistake made during the execution of the will should never have happened. We can develop an effective strategy to submit the appropriate evidence that proves your case so you can carry out your loved one’s final wishes.

We offer a personalized approach to each case we take. Our legal team will determine the best way to meet your needs and try to achieve your specific goals. We provide one-on-one attention and treat each client as a priority from start to finish of their case.

We are proud of the reputation we built and maintained throughout Dallas. Multiple attorneys from Staubus and Randall have received recognition as Rising Stars and Super Lawyers from Thomson Reuters. We also hold an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell for our work ethic and positive case results.

Contact Us

If you believe your loved one made a mistake during the execution of their will, do not hesitate to contact Staubus and Randall. Whether the testator mistakenly used the incorrect language or signed the wrong documents entirely, you could challenge the validity of the will in court.

Call Staubus and Randall at 214-691-3411 right now for your free consultation with one of our Dallas lawyers who contest wills based upon mistakes made by the testator.

The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

Staubus & Randall Team

What Our Clients Say

"I recently had the occasion to hire Mr. Staubus for a hotly contested Guardianship matter. Mr. Staubus brought a rare combination of effectiveness, reasonableness and understanding of the human element involved. Mr. Staubus handled all things in a calm, highly competent, effective and reasonable way. It could not have been as easy as he made it seem. He's a credit to the Bar."

Jody

"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."

Martha

"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."

Joann

"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”

Karen

"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

David

"After my husband's death, I was devastated by having to defend against a vicious dispute over my husband's estate. Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus made me feel very comfortable in this distressing situation. They were very tough and did an excellent job for me in obtaining a summary judgment in my favor without a full jury trial. I was glad to have them and Diane Walker in my corner to help me achieve an excellent result - I won! If I ever had to go back to probate court, I would hire them again.” - (will and trust construction case)

Flo

"If you need intervention for someone you love but don't know where to turn or who to turn to, Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus helped me through the most difficult and stressful time in my life with a much loved family member. I now believe that good will triumph over evil. They fought for what was right, and good prevailed." (contested guardianship and will contest)

Janet

"As a professional money manager, I have used Ryan Randall's estate planning services both personally and for my clients. Ryan has exhibited three critical attributes in his work with me: (1) high intellectual capacity, (2) exceptional thoroughness, and (3) a total commitment to integrity. In today's litigious world, it can be quite costly not to "get things done right.” An added bonus to us was that we found one of the nicest people we could imagine.”

John

"I was represented by Keith Staubus as an income beneficiary in a lawsuit with the trustee of a family trust. Utilizing the expertise of a forensic accountant and his own trust expertise, Keith was able to negotiate a judicial modification of the trust providing for the buyout of my income interest for a substantial lump sum payment out of the trust, resulting in a win-win situation for all of the parties. I highly recommend Staubus/Randall for any trust disputes and trust modification actions."

Kathy

"I have been a wealth management specialist and retirement plan consultant with the Dallas/Fort Worth financial community for over 20 years. I have engaged Ryan Randall to work with a number of my best clients over the years, including business owners, professionals and families. My clients always appreciate Ryan’s straightforward approach to estate planning, asset protection planning and business succession planning. He makes even the most sophisticated estate planning strategies understandable."

Larry

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