Will Contests & Estate Administration
A Will is one of the most important documents a person will sign in their entire life. A person’s right to execute a Will cannot be abridged. But, when a Will does not express a testator’s true intentions, it can be contested. The primary bases for contesting are lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud or forgery. A will has no effect until after the testator dies and it is admitted to probate. Do not assume that just because a Will was signed, it is valid. There are technical requirements that must be met for a Will to be valid. Handwritten Wills may also be valid. We can defend your loved-one’s testamentary desires by contesting bogus Wills or defending valid ones.
If a person dies with a Will, he or she is considered to have died testate. Contrarily, if a person dies without a Will, he or she is considered to have died intestate. If testate, after a Will is admitted to probate, usually, an independent executor is appointed. The independent executor will receive Letters Testamentary evidencing his, her or its court authority to act on behalf of the Estate. The independent executor usually serves without court-supervision and without bond and is duty-bound to follow the law and the terms of the Will. The only check on the independent executor is their honest, integrity and commitment to abide by their fiduciary duties.
If intestate, a court may appointed an administrator (as opposed to an executor) to perform all the duties of an executor, but with court supervision. The latter means the Administrator, who receives Letters of Administration, must seek and obtain court approval. When a person in Texas dies intestate, no Will exists to dictate how that persons property shall pass, post-death. The state of Texas writes a Will for them, by statute and the Court must determine the heirs of the decedent. A Judgment Declaring Heirship will pass title to the decedent’s property to his lawful heirs. After all heirs are determined, the Court may appoint an independent administrator to administer the Estate without bond or court-supervision. We can provide good and valuable advice to those serving as an executor or administrator to make sure all duties are properly performed.