In re Estate of Blevins, 202 S.W.3d 326 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2006, no pet.).

Estate Administration

Will Contest

Statute of Limitations in a Late Probate


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 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.

Moral: A will may be contested within two years of probate even if the contestant received notice of the original probate proceeding.