Individuals often assume that creating a will guarantees that their assets will distribute to designated parties seamlessly. However, for a will to be legally binding, the document must meet certain strict legal requirements. For instance, a will must include appropriate signatures, dates and attestation by witnesses without a financial stake in the estate.
In addition to potential technical errors or inaccuracies, there are many reasons that a will may not be valid. In Texas, heirs and other beneficiaries may challenge a will’s legality if they have reason to believe the document is illegitimate.
1. Lack of testamentary capacity
An individual can only execute a valid will if mentally competent to do so. Beneficiaries may contest the will if they believe that their loved one did not have the mental capacity to understand the importance or details of the document at the time that he or she signed it.
2. Presence of undue influence
If another individual manipulated, pressured or extorted the testator to change or draft a will in a way that is contrary to his or her natural choice, that will may prove invalid in court. This is especially true if the creator of the will may not have been of sound mind at the time that he or she executed the document.
3. Existence of multiple wills
Individuals who invest in estate planning early often amend or revoke and redraft their will several times before their death. Unfortunately, this may cause issues later if multiple wills surface during the probate process. Beneficiaries may have to seek legal clarification to determine which document is valid.