When creating an estate plan, many in Texas and elsewhere attempt to ensure that they have limited the chance of a battle between their heirs and beneficiaries over the content of their wills or trusts. However, in some cases, despite the efforts of those involved, probate litigation can occur. This often is the case when changes are made to an estate plan by an individual just prior to death.
In one case that may be of interest to our readers in Texas, a woman in another state died at the age of 93. Just prior to her death, she made changes to her will and trust that may have made one individual the sole heir to her estate. This individual, according to a recent report, was only in the now-deceased woman’s life for a short period prior to her death.
The changes to the estate plan made by the woman just prior to her death may lead to a probate litigation case over her estate. Reports indicate that some believe that she may have been unduly influenced by the man who was made the sole heir in the near-death will modifications. In fact, some claim that the woman in this case suffered from diseases such as dementia at the time the changes were made.
The potential probate litigation that may soon break out among the beneficiaries of this case surround the competency of the woman who changed her estate plan. Arguments will likely be made to the appropriate court that will decide if the modifications should stand. Like such cases in our state, each side in this matter will present evidence designed to assist a court in making a determination of the competency of the woman when she modified her will and trust. However, there is a chance that probate litigation can be avoided if the parties are able to negotiate an agreement as to the validity of the wills.
Source: SeacoastOnline.com, “Woman dies before battle of wills resolved,” Elizabeth Dinan, Dec. 14, 2012