Challenging a codicil: A guide to disputing changes to a will

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2023 | Estate And Trust Litigation

A codicil is a legal amendment to a will that specifies certain modifications to the original document. Although it is enacted or executed after the will, it is legally enforceable and considered part of the testator’s final wishes.

Challenging a codicil can be a complex process, but it’s essential to know the steps to take if you believe the changes to your loved one’s will were made unfairly or illegally. Below is a guide to disputing a codicil to a will.

Understand the grounds for contesting the codicil

The first thing you need to do is to identify the legal issues with the codicil. You cannot challenge the amendments to a will just because you disagree with them or they do not favor you. Some valid grounds for contesting a codicil include the following:

  • A lack of testamentary capacity by the testator if they did not have the mental ability to understand the consequences of their actions
  • Undue influence or fraud if the testator was coerced, manipulated or tricked into changing their original wishes
  • Improper execution of the codicil if due process was not followed when creating the codicil

If you have a valid reason for contesting the codicil, you may proceed to the next step, which is perhaps the most important.

Gather the relevant evidence

You need to back your claims with the necessary evidence, depending on your reasons for contesting the codicil. Gather any documents related to the original will and codicil, such as medical records, statements or testimonies from appropriate parties and other reports that can help prove your case.

Present your case

To challenge a codicil, you must file a legal action in court after the will is admitted to probate. While you have a two-year window to do so under Texas law, it is advisable to act as soon as possible before it is too late to rectify the situation.

Whether the codicil will be revoked rests primarily on the strength of your case, which explains the importance of having the necessary legal representation.