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San Antonio Contested Estates Lawyer

Kendall County contested wills lawyer

Bexar County Probate Litigation Attorney for Contested Wills and Estates

Dealing with a loved one's death can be difficult in any situation, but there are some cases where family members may be concerned that a person's wishes are not being followed correctly. While a person's last will and testament will detail how their assets should be distributed among their beneficiaries, one or more of their heirs may believe that a will that was filed in probate court was invalid. These issues may be addressed through probate litigation, and beneficiaries may also take legal action because they believe that estate or trust administration was performed incorrectly.

To ensure that matters involving contested estates are addressed correctly, the parties involved will need to be sure they are represented by a lawyer who has experience handling these types of issues. Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law provides knowledgeable and dedicated legal help to people involved in these types of disputes, ensuring that they are prepared to resolve these matters successfully. He provides representation for both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in these cases, working to help them protect their rights and interests while making sure a decedent's wishes are followed correctly.

When Can a Will Be Contested?

An interested party can generally pursue probate litigation to contest a will within two years after the will was admitted into court during the probate process. Interested parties include the beneficiaries named in a will, the heirs who stand to inherit property, the decedent's spouse, or anyone else who may have a valid claim against an estate, such as a creditor. In most cases, probate litigation will address the validity of the will, and a person may claim that a will is invalid due to:

  • The decedent's mental capacity - When creating and executing a will, a person must have what is known as "testamentary capacity," meaning that they have a full understanding of the nature and extent of the assets they own, the nature of their business interests, the relatives or other loved ones who may inherit their assets, and the decisions made in the will about the disposition of their property. A person may claim that a will is invalid because the decedent did not have the mental capacity to fully understand these issues. However, these claims will require strong evidence showing that the decedent did not understand what they were signing and that the decisions in their will went against their actual wishes.
  • Undue influence - An interested person may believe that the decedent was improperly influenced into signing a will that was not based on their wishes. These cases may involve manipulation, coercion, or threats. Family members may suspect undue influence if a person made changes to their will to disinherit relatives and leave the majority of their assets to a person who was in a position of power over the decedent, such as a caretaker. To prove undue influence, a person will need to show that someone placed extreme pressure on the decedent and overpowered their ability to make decisions for themselves, leading to decisions that would not have been made otherwise.
  • Fraud - A will may be challenged on the basis that the decedent was tricked into signing it while under the belief that they were signing another type of document. A person may also claim that someone forged the decedent's signature on a will or made alterations to a will after it was signed.

Trust Litigation

Beneficiaries of a trust may pursue litigation because they believe the trust was not administered correctly. These types of lawsuits may be based on the claim that a trustee mismanaged the assets in a trust, failed to distribute the assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust, or used the trust's assets to enrich themselves instead of following the wishes of the grantor. A beneficiary may seek to have a trustee removed and replaced, or they may ask that the trustee be required to reimburse the trust or the beneficiaries for the loss of assets.

Contact a San Antonio Contested Wills and Estates Attorney

Whether you are a beneficiary who wants to make sure your loved one's wishes will be followed correctly or an estate administrator or trustee who needs to defend against probate or trust litigation, Geoff Mayfield can provide you with the representation you need. Contact us today by calling 210-535-0870 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Geoff assists with contested estates and probate litigation in San Marcos, Kendall County, Laredo, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Boerne, Blanco County, Kerrville, Bexar County, Seguin, Frio County, Hondo, and Del Rio.

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