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Can you challenge a codicil to a will in Texas?


Under certain circumstances, you could challenge a codicil to a will in Texas. You would need to file a codicil contest lawsuit in the deceased’s county’s probate court. If the probate court finds that the codicil is invalid, then it will disregard the amendment. The remaining part of the will that’s valid will remain in effect. Texas only allows beneficiaries and heirs to challenge a codicil.

How to contest a codicil

You need to file a written petition contesting the codicil that explains why you believe it’s invalid. The petition must include supporting evidence and any witnesses who could testify in court.

Testamentary capacity

If the deceased didn’t have the testamentary capacity to make a revision to their will, then the court may deem the codicil invalid. Under Texas wills law, testamentary capacity means that the individual understands what they are doing, the value of their assets and who will receive their assets.

Undue influence and fraud

Any codicil that comes from undue influence or trickery is invalid. Undue influence is when someone uses manipulation, threats or force to make the testator add a codicil. If they pretended that the codicil was a different document to trick the testator into signing, then this is fraud.

Correct procedures

As with writing a will, testators must follow state law when adding a codicil. Failing to follow the correct procedure could invalidate the amendment. Texas requires that a codicil specifically state which part of the will changes. The information must be factual as well. If the testator refers to their will from 2018, but the will is from 2019, then the court will most likely deem the codicil invalid due to the incorrect dates. Texas also stipulates that testators need to sign codicils under the same formalities as wills.

Fraud, lack of testamentary capacity and incorrect legal procedures are the main reasons you could contest a codicil. Disliking the change to the will isn’t a valid reason under Texas law to challenge a codicil.