Why Would A Will Be Opposed Or Contested In Texas And How Can We Avoid That From Happening?
Someone who has been written out of a will, or who is receiving less than they would have by law, may choose to contest a will. If you’re taking the same under the will as you would under the law, then there’s no point in contesting.
During Estate Planning, What Should You Include To Avoid Future Litigation Or Contesting Of A Will Or Other Estate Planning Documents?
The client needs to be aware if their plans may lead to a will contest. When drafting estate planning documents, it is important to discuss what the client’s plans are, along with the possible outcomes of those decisions. If they want to exclude somebody from their estate, that is within their rights to do so, but what are the possible ramifications of that decision down the road. If they are writing out a child who is lost in drugs and criminal activity, the child has the right to contest the will. A will contest can be an expensive process, so the child is less likely to have the ability to contest.
You hear about large estate contests, like Anna Nicole Smith. These contests are tied to large sums of money and are contested by people with the financial means to do so. If it’s possible for an estate plan to be contested, it is important to have a conversation with the client to ensure they know the possible outcomes. It should be made clear so they can decide if the possibility of a contest is something they are comfortable putting the other heirs through. As circumstances change over time, estate plans can be changed as well.
Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Will Contests In Texas?
Yes, two years from when the will is admitted to probate (also known as the order by the judge).
What Assets Must Go Through Probate In Texas?
Assets that need to go through probate are any that require a title transfer, such as a house, car, or bank account. If you’re in probate, technically everything goes through, such as personal property like clothes, household furnishings, etc. If the personal property is the only thing that’s existing in the estate, a family member can take ownership of these items without going through probate, as long as there’s no other heir who is upset about that.
Do Bank Accounts Go Through Probate?
Most of the time, bank accounts do not go through probate. At the time you set up the bank account, a beneficiary designation, also known as a transfer on death or payable on death, is provided. When someone passes, all you must do is go to the bank with the death certificate and they will automatically issue a check to whoever the decedent’s designated beneficiary is.
We do find cases where the bank claims they never gave the designation. To avoid this issue, when you open an account, it is best to keep a copy of that document and put it with your will. With this document, the bank will take care of the transfer. If there is not a copy of it, or the person never completed a designation, then the account does need to go through court. There are alternatives to this route; the bank may accept a small estate affidavit or an affidavit of heirship, but that is never guaranteed. You might spend time, effort, and funds to take an alternate route to avoid probate, but then end up going through probate anyways if the bank rejects it.
For more information on Probate Laws in Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 829-6100 today.