Fathers 4 Equal Rights
Tarrant County Bar Association
Texas Trial Lawyers Association
Collin County Bar Association
Hood County Bar Association
Dallas Bar Association
National Association of Realtors
State Bar of Texas

Will Contests

Will Contests – Probate Administration & Probate Litigation

Most estates must go through probate before estate property may be distributed, unless estate planning was done through a trust or a property was titled in beneficiaries’ names before the estate owner died.

Probate is a court-administered procedure that makes decisions regarding estates, which include:

  • Determination of a valid will
  • Identification of the decedent’s assets and property
  • Opportunity for creditors of the estate to file claims
  • Payment of creditors
  • Payment of taxes
  • Payment of estate administration fees
  • Distribution of the remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the will
  • If no will, division and distribution of assets according to state laws

The property of an estate includes the total of all property and assets, including real estate, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, annuities and insurance policies, along with physical possessions such as furniture and cars.

Timeline for Probate in Texas

Probate in Texas involves simple administration under the court once the will has been determined valid and an executor has been established for the estate. Compared to some states, Texas probate is less costly, and an estate can be closed within far less time. Texas probate procedure requires a minimum of one court appearance before the judge by an estate representative. After notices have been made to beneficiaries and creditors regarding the distribution of the estate, creditors have six months to file claims with the administrator and court. It usually takes six months to a year to probate the estate and less time when no debts are owed. If there are no taxes, title issues or disputes between beneficiaries, the estate may be resolved even more quickly.

Contested Wills

While probate is a relatively simple process for estates, contested wills compound matters and add considerable complexity to the probate process.

A contested will is one in which legal action is brought to challenge the validity or terms of the will. The following examples are grounds for contesting a will:

  • A more recent will has been found, which nullifies the earlier will.
  • The decedent was incapacitated when he or she drafted the will.
  • Another person caused undue influence on the decedent when he or she drafted the will.
  • The will was improperly executed, such as improper notarization, signature or witnesses.
  • Signatures were forged (decedent, notary or witnesses’ signatures).

During contested wills, relationships among the beneficiaries often are strained by emotions. Experienced legal counsel and representation can help resolve conflict and move the probate process forward.

Client Reviews
Knowledgeable, respectful and great! Renee Moore
Jon, once again – Great job! I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for your overall knowledge of the law and your impressive trial skills. Simply outstanding! It may have been just another day at the office for you, but you’ve made a huge positive impact on my life and more importantly on my son’s life. Thanks again. Anonymous
My experience as Jon’s client was stellar and I can’t imagine having gone through everything the last few years without him going to bat for me. My case was a high conflict child custody modification. Jon is incredibly knowledgeable and he expertly applied this knowledge to my case. He has a very confident, commanding presence in the courtroom and his loyalty to the success of me and my case was clear in his actions. Our outcome was better than I expected and I am happy with the results. He and his staff are diligent, skilled and worth every cent. If you need assertive, sharp, highly skilled representation, then I absolutely recommend Jon. Anonymous
A most genuine ‘Thank You’ from me and my family. (I am) very fortunate that I found you in 2006 to represent me in battling The Devil in Divorce-Custody #1. It’s no secret that I hold you in high regard and probably place unfair expectations on your back to carry into battle with me. Just know that there is no one I trust more than you when it comes to guiding/representing/fighting for me and my family. You earned my respect and trust nine years ago now. I already know the quality of man I walk into the courtroom with. And that provides me a level of confidence which cannot be replaced. I’m loyal to a fault, my friend. The quality of your work and your office staff’s support and responsiveness have all been top notch in dealing with me and my family’s legal issues... Anonymous