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Texas law requires that certain procedures and qualifications take place before a person's Last Will and Testament be considered valid. For example, necessary capacity of a testator (person making his or her will) must be established and signs of undue influence or fraud be absent. Texas law also requires that certain procedures be followed when carrying out the wishes of a decedent's Will or Trust. For example, an executor of a Will must conduct himself within a context of fiduciary duties owed to beneficiaries and creditors including the duty to account for estate or trust property and to pay validated debts of the decedent's. In addition, what the Will or Trust says must strictly be followed and personal and real property must be properly secured and/or insured prior to delivery to the named beneficiary.
Texas law also requires certain allowances (i.e. an amount of money) to be paid to a surviving spouse and/or minor children. Often times, people think they can exclude or conveniently "forget" about certain family members who are entitled to something by law.
When these laws above (and other laws not mentioned above) are not followed or fraud is occurring or has taken place, probate litigation should probably ensue. Listed below are just a few of the types of probate litigation cases we have come across which warranted probate litigation:
- Decedent's "Pay-on-Death" (POD) beneficiaries were changed a few months before her passing by the Principal of her Power of Attorney to the Principal (avoiding a previously established Trust);
- Executrix did not sufficiently or accurately account for estate personal property;
- Executor sold personal property at a garage sale and pocketed the money;
- Decedent, without testamentary capacity, signed a Will that she knew nothing of the content and of which the sole beneficiary of the Will paid to have prepared;
- Decedent tried to give more than his 1/2 interest in community property (e.g. his wife's community property) to his "friend";
- Caretaker becomes the sole beneficiary of Decedent's Will not too long before the passing of Decedent;
- "Friend" tried to avoid paying the surviving spouse of Decedent her legally entitled Allowances;
- Creditor was not paid when the Estate had sufficient monies to pay Creditor;
- Executor did not send the required notices to the beneficiaries;
- Executrix did not timely administer the estate (e.g. administration was pending for 6+ years);
- No Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims was sent to a beneficiary;
- Family members of the Decedent "forgot" about two minor niece and nephew who were entitled to inherit;
- Trustee did not make mandatory distributions to the sole beneficiary of the Trust.
- And many more...
Marold Law Firm, San Antonio Probate Attorneys .com, is here to be your sophisticated probate litigators. Call or email us to schedule a free initial consultation with a probate litigation attorney.
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Attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.