How long can you contest a will in Texas?

If you want to contest a will in Texas, then you must have a basis/reason to do so. It should explain why the court shouldn’t honor the said will.

Generally, the reasons fall into four broad categories, which are:

The will is lacking testamentary capacity

Since a person appoints someone to write their will for them, said person needs to be of sound mind when that happens. The one doing the writing is known as the testator. If the writing of such a will leads to an improper property disbursement, then you can use this as a reason. Of course, it will be on you to show how the testator failed to follow the deceased’s desires. You can find out more about will-governing statutes here.

The will was created as a result of undue influence

The attempts of a third party on the testator to alter their wishes, including through extortion or blackmail, come under the definition of undue influence.

A will’s lacking due execution

Valid wills in Texas must fulfill specific requirements to be considered so. The testator, for instance, should ensure that a witness and their signature are on the will. The absence of these requirements gives you a basis to challenge a will.

A will falls prey to legal noncompliance

Being a kind of legal document, a will must comply with specific laws and requirements. In the absence of such practices, the testator leaves themselves vulnerable to contestation.

Which deadlines do I have to worry about when contesting a will in Texas?

Aside from the reason for the contesting, you must also be careful of the six Will Contests Texas deadlines.

Pre-probate period

Use this phase to challenge a will because beneficiaries and executors are all attempting to prove its validity under Texas law. If you successfully begin the contest, the court will stop the

Look for the two-week-long waiting period between the Texas probate court receiving and approving an application to probate the will. Failure to do so means you must prove the will is invalid.


Once the probate opens officially, you will have two years to contest a will. However, do keep these exceptions in mind:



Defrauding a testator who then creates a will unreflective of the testator’s true wishes is one such situation. Say, someone tells the testator that their sibling is a criminal. As a result of the lie, the sibling gets disinherited when a will is made. Thus, convincing the testator of an untruth or acting in a way that causes them to change their will applies to this exception. In that case, the will can be set aside during a successful will contest.


By which we refer to another will, of course. Even if both wills are by the testator, you may have a case.

Moreover, should the version that you have to be dated after the one to probate, the court will allow you four years to find it and submit it too. In short, you can successfully challenge the older version this way. However, with a date stamp from before the original will, your window shrinks back to the two-year statute of limitations.

Unaware heirs

The Texas Supreme Court made it so that a testator’s children can claim their inheritance within four years after probate. This applies, provided that they weren’t aware when the probate period began that the testator was leaving them a part of the estate. So, offspring who got adopted out of the family or did not know the identity of their biological parent after the probate’s closing can use this exception to contest.

Incapacitated heirs

Any kind of incapacitation during the two-year-long probate period of an heir opens this way for a contest. For instance, if an heir was a minor during those two years, they cannot file a lawsuit legally. In any case, the court will give such heirs two more years to contest a will.

Can anybody contest a will in Texas?

Can anybody contest a will in Texas?

Surprisingly, no! However, the number of restrictions isn’t that high. If you have a stake in a will, the Texas Estates Code’s section 55.001 lets you legally contest it. Hence, you may call in witnesses and submit evidence to do that. In short, anything that can make your case is okay.

Nevertheless, as the contesting party, it is your job to prove that you have a pecuniary interest in the estate. So, if your stake isn’t financial and the will-governed estate disbursement won’t affect it, then you don’t have a case!

As you can see, the reason and timing both determine if your contest attempt will be a success or not. And, so does having a stake in how an estate’s disbursement will happen.

Professionals will contestation experts can identify the best way to get the court to listen to you. Why not go to a capable one for guidance.

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