Probate in Texas can be a complex matter and the type of will that the testator had is a major part of that. A legal dispute regarding a will’s validity can hinder the attempts to move forward with the probate process. It can also lead to the challenging of a will and estate litigation. Understanding the circumstances under which certain wills can be deemed valid and how this can be done may require legal help from an experienced probate attorney.
If the person had what is known as an “attested” will – a will in which a witness has signed it to show that the testator wrote it and was of sound mind and body at the time – it might not be self-proved. If that is the case, then it will be necessary to have sworn testimony or an affidavit from a witness or witnesses that it is a valid will. This must be done in open court. If the witness is not a resident of the county or is not able to go to court, there are other ways to prove the will’s validity. First, one or more witnesses giving testimony via deposition either written or orally can validate it. Second, a sworn affidavit can be used if there was no written opposition to the will, or if there is a deposition given as to the signature or handwriting with evidence of one or more of the witnesses who attest to the will.
There are times when only a single witness can be located who can give the necessary proof. This can be sufficient. When there are no living witnesses or if each are in the armed forces in any capacity, the will can be proved valid if there are two witnesses regarding the handwriting of the witnesses or the testator and they provide sworn testimony or affidavit in court or give a deposition to prove its validity.
One of the most common reasons for a legal dispute regarding a will is whether it is valid and was executed according to the law. An attested will can be the foundation for this type of disagreement. When there is a legal dispute over an attested will, having a law firm that is experienced in estate planning and probate litigation can assist with the case.
Source: statutes.legis.state.tx.us, “Chapter 256. Probate Of Wills Generally — 256.153. Proof of Execution of Attested Will.,” accessed on April 24, 2018