The Top Causes of Texas Inheritance Disputes


Legal Will Contests Most Commonly Arise In Several Situations

As a probate attorney in the Dallas area, I have learned to advise clients to be wary of certain situations that increase the likelihood that their wills will be challenged in probate court.  Here are the most common situations that increase the likelihood of a will contest.

Texas Wills Clients Underestimate The Impact Of Feelings

When you meet with your Wills Attorney (estate planning attorney) to create your will, consider how your decisions will psychologically impact your family.

  • The child who needs money/the child who doesn’t need money.  The first problem that some parents face when creating Wills is that their children may have different financial needs. However, when money is allocated unequally among the children, some children might be accused as being the “favorite.” Similarly, the child receiving a smaller inheritance because he “didn’t need the money as much” might actually interpret his smaller inheritance as, “I guess I wasn’t loved as much.”  One of the children might also assume that the unequal distribution was a mistake, resulting in a legal will dispute.
  • The problem child. The next issue is the “problem child.” This heir might have substance abuse problems. You may worry that if you give this child an inheritance it would deepen this child’s problems or that the money might feed an addiction.
  • The child with special needs. You might also have a child with a physical or psychological disability. If you give this child an inheritance, that change in income could negatively affect this child’s eligibility for healthcare governmental benefits. The inheritance for a child with a physical or intellectual disability can be put into a “special needs trust” so that they still receive Medicaid.
  • The disinherited. On the other hand, you might actually want to exclude a family member from your will altogether.  Disinheritance comes with its own problems.  Your will is more likely to be legally challenged when the disinherited person discovers he’s getting nothing.

Ways To Reduce Chance of Will Contest in Texas

So, how do you diminish the likelihood that your Will will be challenged in Texas probate court?

  • Communicate. Will contests stem from a lack of communication.  For example, if you want to give your wealthier child a lesser inheritance, explain your reasoning.  Explain that you are intentionally leaving a smaller share to the wealthier child, not because you’re crazy or love this child less, but because you’re just trying to be practical with your Will.  The likelihood of a Texas will contest decreases dramatically when you communicate your reasoning to the will beneficiaries.
  • Hire a Texas wills attorney to create your will. Hire an attorney with a law practice limited to estate planning, wills or probate.  In the long run, this attorney will save your family money while preventing heartache, stress and anger. Wills attorneys cost less than people expect, and this will always be money well spent.

To summarize, it is cheaper/easier to be proactive and hire a Texas wills attorney to create your will than it is to handle inheritance disputes after death. In other words, an estate planning attorney has the experience to detect problems within the family and provide effective solutions when it comes to your estate and assets. Where there are family problems, it is often hard for families to communicate. A probate attorney can help find alternative solutions that address the issue without leading to the destruction of family relationships.

Free Consultation

To ask a legal question or get legal help from a wills attorney in the Dallas, TX area, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the office in person in Richardson, TX- the attorney will gladly offer a free consultation.

Visit for more information on why you should hire a Texas wills attorney (estate planning lawyer), how to decrease the chances of a Will Contest in Texas, Texas inheritance disputes, how to challenge a will in probate court, or how to get a Will in Texas, contact Richardson, Texas Wills and Probate Attorney Isaac Shutt at

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, TX and just South of Plano, TX. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you need letters testamentary, how to serve as executor in Texas, how to probate in Dallas County Probate Courts or the Collin County Probate Court, a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need a probate attorney in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, TX, Collin County, or surrounding North Texas area.


DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and attorney Isaac Shutt sign an engagement letter with the Shutt Law Firm, PLLC.

Probate Attorney, Wills Lawyer, and Guardianship Attorney

By Isaac Shutt