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Legal Terminology

Impleaded:

To bring in a third party to a lawsuit who might be liable to either the plaintiff or the defendant.

Probate Case

Klein v. Dimock, 705 S.W.2d 405 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 1986, writ ref’d n.r.e.)

Facts & Procedural History

L.A. Klein (Testator) and his wife, Mary Louise, executed a joint and mutual will (the 1961 will) that bequeathed their estate to whichever of them survived the other. Upon the survivor’s death, the will instructed the estate to be passed to their grandsons, Lawrence W. Klein and Jimmy Klein (Appellants). After Mary Louise passed away, Testator probated the 1961 will. In 1981, Testator executed another will (the 1981 will) that revoked the 1961 will. The 1981 will named Lee Dimock and Bill Holman (Appellees) as the co-independent executors, and gave Appellants a smaller share of the estate. Appellees filed an application for the will in probate court, and it was admitted.

Appellants filed suit and contested the 1981 will’s admission in probate court. Appellants also filed an application for the probate of the 1961 will. The trial court ruled that all beneficiaries under the 1981 will were necessary parties and had to be brought into the lawsuit, and Appellants filed another petition to contest the probate and bar the involvement of the will’s beneficiaries. Appellants also wished to combine both the 1981 will contest and the application for probate of the 1961 will. The trial court entered the judgment Appellants’ will contest was barred by the two year statute of limitations. It stated that more than two years had passed since the order admitting the 1981 will, and this had occurred before all the necessary and indispensable parties were impleaded.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment, stating that Appellants application to admit the 1961 will was a direct attack against the 1981 will (which invalidated all prior wills) and was thus subject to the two year statute of limitations for will contests. The Court also articulated that Appellants had failed to implead all necessary and indispensable parties into the matter within the required time period.

Main Considerations: Grounds for contesting a will

Is a suit seeking to set aside a will already probated and admitting another will to probate a will contest?

Yes, this type of suit is considered a will contest and is thus subject to a two year statute of limitations law rather than the four year statute of limitations law for the admission of wills to probate.

The Lawyer Takeaway

Klein v. Dimock shows that the admission of another will to invalidate another will is considered a will contest at law, meaning that all necessary parties must be impleaded prior to the lapse of the two year statute of limitations period.

Do you need an experienced attorney to help with Will Disputes?

When it comes to will contests, the probate court is the final arbiter of what is considered a valid contest. If you have been named in a will as an heir or beneficiary, but believe that the will is not valid, you may want to consider contesting the will as a beneficiary in probate court. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights as a beneficiary are protected. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation. (281) 219-9090.

https://houston-probate-law.com/

Related Questions

How long do you have to contest a will?

If you believe that a will is invalid, you have a limited time to file a will contest. This time period, called the statute of limitations, varies by state. In some states, you must file a will contest within six months of the date of probate. In other states, you may have up to one year or more.

If you miss the deadline to contest a will, you may be barred from challenging it. This means that even if you have evidence that the will is invalid, the court will not hear your case.

If you’re considering contesting a will, you should talk to an experienced probate attorney in your state. An attorney can help you understand the deadlines and requirements for filing a will contest and can represent you in court.

How to contest a will and win?

When it comes to will contests, there are a few things you need to know in order to give yourself the best chance of winning. First, you need to understand what is considered a will contest. A will contest is typically when someone challenges the validity of a will. This can be done for a number of reasons, such as if the person challenging the will believes that the person who made the will was not of sound mind when they did so.

If you’re thinking about contesting a will, it’s important to know that there are certain deadlines you need to meet. For instance, in most states, you only have a limited amount of time after the person’s death to file a will contest. This is typically around six months, but it can vary from state to state.

Once you’ve filed a will contest, the court will then decide whether or not to hear your case. If the court decides to hear your case, then you’ll need to present evidence as to why you believe the will is invalid. This is where having an experienced probate attorney can be incredibly helpful. They can help guide you through the process and make sure you have all the evidence you need to make your case.

Is it worth contesting a will? Reasons and Examples

When it comes to wills, there are a few different ways that they can be contested. The first is if there is evidence that the will was not properly executed. This means that there are questions about whether or not the will was signed by the person who created it, or if it was signed under duress.

Another reason that a will might be contested is if there is evidence that the person who created the will was not of sound mind when they did so. This could be because they were suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Finally, a will can also be contested if there are questions about whether or not the person who created the will knew what they were doing. This is called “undue influence.” For example, if someone stands to inherit a large sum of money from a will, they may try to convince the person who made the will to change it in their favor.

So, is it worth contesting a will? That depends on the circumstances. If there is evidence that the will was not properly executed, or that the person who made the will was not of sound mind, then it may be worth contesting the will.

Who can challenge a will?

If you believe that the will is not valid, or if you are unhappy with what the will says, you may be able to challenge the will in probate court. In order to challenge a will, you must have “standing.” This means that you must be someone who would be affected by the outcome of the case. For example, if you are an heir who would receive more assets if the will was invalidated, you would have standing to challenge the will.

If you want to challenge a will, you must first file a petition with the probate court. The petition must state your grounds for challenging the will. The most common grounds for challenging a will are lack of capacity and undue influence.

Lack of capacity means that the person who made the will (the “testator”) did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing when they made the will. Undue influence means that someone pressured the testator into making the will, or into including certain provisions in the will.

If you are successful in challenging the will, it can be declared invalid by the court. This means that the assets would be distributed as if the person had died without a will.

What happens when a will is contested?

If someone challenges the validity of a will in probate court, it’s called a will contest. The person who challenges the will is called the contestant. To have a valid will contest, the contestant must have standing, which means she must be able to show that she’ll be harmed if the will is allowed to stand. For example, the contestant might be an heir who stands to inherit more assets if the will is invalidated.

There are two types of will contests: formal and informal. Formal will contests are rare and expensive, because they require a trial. In an informal will contest, the court hears arguments from both sides and then makes a ruling.

Will contests are usually based on one of four grounds: lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud or forgery, or revocation. The burden of proof is on the contestant to show that one of these grounds exists.

If you’re thinking about contesting a will, you should talk to a lawyer first. Will contests are complex and time-consuming, and they often don’t succeed.

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