Developments In Inheritance Laws

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Probating A Newer Will

no-contest-s-Fotolia_10685421_XSEstoppel

I’ve written about how accepting benefits under a will may prevent or estop a person from contesting that will. In a 2014 case a trial court ruled that a party was estopped from probating a newer will and from contesting the older will. The trial court held that the party had accepted benefits under the older will and that estopped him from probating the newer will. The trial court also held that probating the newer will was a contest of the older will which the party could not do because of his acceptance of benefits under the older will.

Accepting Benefits Under Older Will

In this case the San Antonio Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s ruling that a party could not probate a newer will Continue reading

“Interested Persons” Can Contest Wills.

Only "interested persons" can contest a will.Interested Persons

The Texas Estates Code provides “interested Persons” the right to file a will contest. If a contestant is not an interested person, he cannot file a will contest. So who is an interested person? An interested person is an heir, devisee, spouse, creditor, or any other having a property right in or claim against an estate being administered and anyone interested in the welfare of an incapacitated person, including a minor. 22.018.

Paying Funeral Expenses

In a 2014 case decided by the Beaumont court of appeals involving an alleged common law wife of the decedent and the Continue reading

Family Settlement Agreement And Jurisdiction.

Family settlement agreements and jurisdictionJurisdiction After A Family Settlement Agreement

In a 2014 probate case out of the Austin court of appeals, the executor appealed an order from the probate court requiring her to file an accounting. The executor claimed that since all the parties had entered into a family settlement agreement, the probate court no longer had jurisdiction to order the accounting.

Background

Three sisters signed a family settlement agreement dividing their mother’s estate “as equally as possible.” The executor was one of the sisters. She distributed the financial accounts equally. The mother also owned a farm on Continue reading

Tortious Interference With Inheritance Rights.

Tortious interference with inheritance rightsWhat is it?

Tortious interference with inheritance rights is a tort where someone does something that has the effect of denying you an inheritance or gift that you should have received. It is a tort just as if someone runs a stop sign and injures you. Both of these actions are torts and you may be able to hold that other person liable for your damages.

It applies when a testator has been induced by tortious means to make his first will or not to make it; and it applies also when he has been induced to change or remake it. It applies when a will is forged, altered or suppressed. It is well settled in Texas that “[a]ny intentional invasion of, or interference with, property, Continue reading

Credible Witnesses To A Will.

Credible WitnessTwo credible witnesses are required.

The Texas Estates Code requires every last will and testament, if not wholly in the handwriting of the testator, to be attested by two or more “credible witnesses.” The proponent of the will has the burden of proof to show that the witnesses who attested the will are “credible witnesses.”

What are credible witnesses?

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that “credible witness” is synonymous with “competent Continue reading