Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 8, 2006

Will Contest Statute of Limitations

The following is a summary of In re Estate of Blevins, 202 S.W.3d 326 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2006, no pet. h.).

Testator’s will was admitted to probate as muniment of title almost nine years after Testator’s death.  Nine months later, several of the beneficiaries (Contestants) of Testator’s will filed an application to set aside the probate.  The trial court dismissed the application agreeing with Proponent that because Contestants were personally served with citation and did not appear to contest the order, they are barred by the doctrine of res judicata.  Contestants appealed.

The appellate court reversed.  The court looked at Texas Probate Code § 93 which provides that a contestant has two years from the date a will is admitted to probate to contest the validity of the will.  Because Contestants filed the contest well within the two year period (just nine months), Contestants are entitled to pursue the contest.  The court explained that there is no basis for Proponent’s argument that the two year period does not apply to interested persons who were personally served with a copy of the initial application to probate the will.


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My father died almost 20 yrs ago now and I was not included in his will. I did not know of a will to start with. I was the byproduct of his incestial relationship with my mother (his granddaughter by marriage). I have been the secret of the family. But I have returned home now to find there was a will, his baby daughter (actually I would be the baby daughter)received everything and his land still exists and was given to her daughter. His name is on my birth certificate. Do I have any grounds here? Even if I had to sue the family over the land, is this possible?

Posted by: Patsy | Mar 20, 2008 6:06:06 AM

What is the statue of limitation to close out a will? I am the executor and my father passed 9/7/05. Also my brothers and sisters are stealing stuff of my fathers when I have the right to give the stuff out....is that theft?

Posted by: Kathy | May 15, 2008 9:42:43 AM

my father passed away over 12 years ago, there are three children not counting myself, I am the executor of the estate. All signed the will at time of death except one brother. In the will I was given rights to do with the property as I see fit. I have sold a small piece of land now the brother is taking me to court, he is the only one that did not sign the will.
He is now coming forward 12 years later and demanding money for the parcel that was sold. What is my legal rights after 12 years from my fathers death. thanks
Jennie I residen in the state of Alabama, what is the statue of limitation to close out a will
in the state of Alabama.........what should I do?

Posted by: Jennie | Jun 14, 2008 8:28:33 AM

My mother in law died March 14, 2008, she left a will which my sister in law had possession of without her permission. The will states my husband inherites the entire estate, except the money was in the sibllings names not listed in the will. After he opened porbate his siter decided to contest the will because he accused her of burning the will and damaging the real property she had possession of. Threre was an emergency hearing to vacate her from the property. It has been delayed waiting for her attorney's discovery. the basis for the contes was that she was not anmed in the will, he was not named in the previous will, he took his mom to the attorney and his sister claims his mother was susecptible because of heath and mental illness to our influence to change her will, naming him instead of her as sole ehir. What is the statue of limitation in florida for them to produce their discovery

Posted by: Pam Tucker | Sep 29, 2008 10:15:16 PM

My father died 12/26/06 my sister is executor of will.At
first the will she showed me states I receive xxx amount
of money. 9 monthes later no close and she says there is a more recent will which provides me with % of fathers money and cash holdings.She refuses to show me this new will and I am not allowed to read will to see what property is to be divided.In 60 days it will be 2 year anniv. of fathers death with no settlement. There is no
Real Property.Am I destined to be family pariah and take my sister to court?

Posted by: Larry | Nov 6, 2008 9:31:32 AM

I pray that you can help me. My husband died on October 16, 2002 in Dallas, Texas. At the time of his demise his ex-wife owed him $53,275.59 in child support arrearages. The orders are standing in Riverside, California where the child support case has been re-opened. They are willing to collect the monies, but has informed me that it can only be paid through an estate in probate court. They, in California, are also stating that the estate has to be set up in California which seems incorrect to me since my husband died in Dallas County (Texas). I would like to collect these monies, however, I need direction. I am in no financial position to retain an attorney and will have to do all of the paperwork myself. Would please tell me if my statue of limitation has expired? What is the pleading or petition that will need to be filed in Probate Court called? Please, please, please help me.

Sharon D. Jones

Posted by: Sharon Jones | Feb 19, 2009 7:21:12 AM

My father died 2-1-07, his brother is the executer. My father had brain cancer, his will was changed 1-24-07, on week before his death when half of his brain was covered with tumor. I did not contest the revision of his will even knowing he was manipulated to change it. However, the money from the sell of his belongings has not been accounted for and I don't know what my rights are. Thankfully my father designated my brother and I 50/50 recepiants of his IRA and his brother couldn't touch it, but what about all the other assets, how do I protect myself?

Posted by: Tiffany | Apr 25, 2009 8:59:31 PM

My dad died in 1988 when I was 7 and my brother was 12. I dont know how to tell if he had life insurance and my aunt (his sister) kept it for herself. When I was 17 she wrote me a check out of her personal check book and at the top of the check it said In the Estate of XXX and had my dads name on, It was an insurance check but she didnt say for what and at the time I didnt even think about it. Could it have been life insurance and how do I find out? Can I know at the age of 29 can I go and ask her for all legal documents and if it was some kind of life insurance what should I do? HELP!!!

Posted by: SG | Nov 9, 2009 4:44:01 PM

My brother was left out of my mothers will who passed away after my father. my fathers will was never read or honored, but I know he had one, my sister was named executor in my mothers will and took most of the inheritance. my brother was in my fathers will, does he have any recourse now to my fathers will, it has been over 20 years?

Posted by: albert cerecedes | Nov 18, 2009 2:25:42 PM


Posted by: NIK | Mar 11, 2010 2:39:40 PM

Statute of Limitations on will contests should be 10 years, the same amount of time the IRS has to collect undervaluations and estate frauds by trustees and Executors.

The idea that heirs and beneficiaries may be cut off to allow Attorneys and Trustees the privilege of looting estates while leaving heirs and beneficiaries with the tax problems is absurd, and amounts to deceptive practices under FTC regulations - sanctioned by Judges in every state where statutes of limitation are less than the required 10 year "probationary period" set by the IRS itself.

Posted by: Pat | May 5, 2010 8:34:55 PM

my parents died 10 years ago, my brother and I were co-executors of will, will states all personal items in the will, mixed or other wise, and any residue is to go into Trust titled with parents names. father died 6/10/01 and mom 6/24/01, 2 weeks apart. The trust states that co -trustess have the right to convey, transfer sell and split all between 6 people evenly, same as the grantor would do in their life time. Now after 10 years, only 1 person states they did not get copy of will, (has been in court sinec 9/2001) there was no probate, summary administaration was done and final was 1/2003. all monies paid out in mid 2004 and all items sold at public sales as could state could be done in trust. The person doing the noise that a separate trust set up for them, (parents had doubts about them) and that trust was administered by another relative(co trustee) of trust. As far as I knew they gave/sent this sibling the will, now after 10 years, they are coming to me only, the other co-trustee and demanding lists of every in rented apt, and the want 1/3 of this and $20,000. or they will call the state attorney office to have me ???? the other co-trustee has not been contacted. I have all accountings for the money given to all and my brothers signature is all over the summary administration and he was there when all the items were moved out of rental before ALF charged another $3000. Sharon Meyers

Posted by: sharon meyers | Jul 6, 2011 12:12:33 PM

my brother died 17 years ago and signed the deed to his proprty over to his oldest son, his mother had a will giving the house to be divieded by both sons,the oldest son refuses to give the bother his share.the youger man did not contest the willn ontil now because he has a mental condition schizophenia and taking medication,a do not know if the will ever went into probate is there a chance we can contest the will this late in time

Posted by: john carrillo | Sep 14, 2011 3:10:06 PM

GS & 1A-1 Rule 4(d)2 ? The summones issue is important because it ties into the statute of limitations and attorney failed to maintain summons not telling me.He's dismissed and have a new attorney upon finding out and the new attorney had executors served.DOD 06....Estate May 09 Closed O9...Complaint filled Dec.09.Last deposit.....May o9.We need to change the law on the Estate Administration Act...All Beneficiaries allowed banking documents at their request from the bank at any given time after DOD. That would stop a lot of the fraud and delays disrupting people's lives.

Posted by: Kim | Jan 20, 2012 6:47:34 AM

My grandfather died about 8 years ago he split his estate into 7ths one for each of his children one of which was my father now my dad was already passed when my grandfather died so his share would've gone to us I believe my uncle committed fraud by not telling me or my sister about any of this he is now making money off the land and has sold sections of the farm and I nor my sister have signed anything to do with this is there something I can do to ensure that my sister and I get our daddy's share help please

Posted by: Teresa | Apr 29, 2012 5:06:36 PM

I have a few questions,my brother died on recently on the 15th of April,2012. He was living with his ex-wife in Leesburg, Florida. My brother didn't leave a will that we know of and his ex-wife is saying that he had nothing.We know that this is a lie and she want give up any of his property and she gave nothing on his funeral. My brother has a truck, a laptop, a large collection of musical cd's and photography equipment that we knew of. We believe that he kept all of his personal information on his laptop because he was a wiz with computer information or in his briefcase. His ex-wife claims she is deleting everything on his laptop and destroying everything in his briefcase so we can't retrieve his information. The ex has been using his bank card and we haven't seen a statement but, she gave us a statement of his IRA account. I've contacted the investment company and they want tell me who the beneficiary is. My dad is living and I have three sisters and two brothers living. They company wants all of us to call in before they will tell us anything at all. My question is what is the limitation in the state of Florida to file a claim and if my father who lives in RKFD,Ill will be the only one that can file,the rest of us live in different states? The ex claimed she didn't want anything to do with as for as the funeral and now she wants a copy of his death certificate. My father is 82 years old and his health isn't the best. Also, how can we find out about everything my brother owned?

Posted by: Ellen Kennedy | May 16, 2012 1:33:18 PM

My Grandmother moved out her apartment in May, 1991 into healthcare. At that time she divided her possessions among her three grandchildren and daughter. She died three years later. Several years later my brother appeared with a list of some of her possessions that had to have been written before 1980. There is no signature nor date and there are other lists that she made and dated. Is there any validity to a list like that? I contend that she did what she wanted in 1991. Now in 2012 he wants to come pick out what he wants out of my house.

Posted by: Marilyn | Aug 10, 2012 11:17:52 AM

My father passed away in 2001. In 2007 (when I turned 18) I received a letter in regards to his estate. I contacted the lawyer on the letterhead and gave her my information. At the beginning of 2009 I spoke with my step sister and gave her my information address, phone number, etc,. So that she may pass it on to her mother who was supposed to pass it on to the attorney. About a year passed I got pregnant and took sick. And finally at the beginning of 2010 I was able to contact the lawyer again. At that time I was informed that she was unable to locate me therefore my share of the estate was divided. Do I have any rights? Can I pursue the attorney or whoever in regards to the share that was rightfully mine?

Posted by: Tiffany | Sep 23, 2012 10:26:56 AM

my mom & dad passed away in 1995.there was no will.my brother&sister took everything for themselves.home&money.i was never served anything about any hearing .in yucca valley calif.is it too late for me.

Posted by: robert m. henderson | Dec 18, 2012 2:21:52 PM

How long do I have to wait to get my inheritance? My father died three years ago and my mean mother is sitting on it like a golden egg. Do I have to wait for her to die first; she is 90 and evil.

Posted by: james claypoole | Jan 14, 2013 10:30:54 AM

My husband passed away June 16th 2005. He has a daughter from a previous marriage that he is estranged from. She recently contacted me through facebook. I haven't seen or spoken to her in at least 37 years. My question is can she contest his will and take my home from me? I am very concerned about this. What is the statue of limitations for contesting a will in Pennsylvania? (This is where I reside)

Posted by: Barbara | Jan 29, 2017 1:21:33 PM

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