5600 Tennyson Parkway, Suite 382, Plano, Texas 75024

What Are the Most Common Types of Probate Disputes?

Probate is the legal process of distributing property owned by a deceased individual under the rules set forth in the Texas Estates Code. Even when no conflicts exist among potential beneficiaries, probate can be a challenge, so it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been named as executor in the will of someone who has recently died. 

There are various methods of administering an estate under Texas law, but formal probate is typically required when the value involved is $75,000 or higher. Settling an estate demands the successful completion of numerous tasks, usually over many months. However, probate can get hung up if a disagreement arises over the validity of a will or the administration of the estate. Some of the most common probate disputes involve the following issues:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity — A proper will cannot be created if the testator lacks understanding of what they are doing. Some will contests derive from allegations that a person did not have the requisite capacity to draft a legal document, particularly when they were very old or severely ill at the time it was written. 
  • Undue influence — When someone pressures a testator into making bequests that do not accurately reflect the testator’s wishes, those provisions should not be enforced. This might occur when someone threatens the testator, uses emotional manipulation or takes advantage of an elderly person’s vulnerability. 
  • Vagueness — One of the best reasons to work with an experienced attorney on your will is that you can be confident that the terms of the document will be clear and unambiguous. However, many people try to go it alone, and their final instructions might be open to more than one interpretation. 
  • Mistake — Errors occasionally are found in testamentary documents. Certain mistakes are obvious, but there are situations where a dispute exists as to whether a particular asset was intentionally overlooked or if an heir was misidentified. 
  • Breach of fiduciary duty — The personal representative of the estate, who is usually the executor named in the will, has a legal duty to carry out the decedent’s instructions faithfully. Heirs might seek a change if they believe that estate assets are being squandered, expenses or taxes are not being paid or that the representative is acting in their own interests rather than fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility.

Probate disputes can be emotionally charged and complicated. At the Law Offices of Kevan I. Benkowitz in Plano, we have the skill and experience to help clients handle all types of Texas probate issues. We work to resolve disputes efficiently and fairly, minimizing stress and protecting your interests. Please call 972-464-2645 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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