In In re Guardianship of Margol, a mother named her son as her power of attorney agent and as a trustee of a trust in which she was a beneficiary. No. 05-21-00255-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 4119 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 16, 2022, no pet. history). A daughter filed an application to name a guardian of her mother’s person and estate. The son opposed that application and filed one of his own. The trial court granted the guardianship of the mother’s estate, but not person, and also found that the son had an adverse interest and did not have standing. The son appealed. The court of appeals held as follows:
Section 1055.001(a) of the Texas Estates Code, titled “Standing to Commence or Contest Proceeding,” states that, except as provided in subsection (b), any person has the right to commence a guardianship proceeding or appear and contest a guardianship proceeding or the appointment of a particular person as a guardian. See Tex. Est. Code Ann. § 1055.001(a). However, a person who has interests adverse to a proposed ward or incapacitated person may not: “(1) file an application to create a guardianship for the proposed ward or incapacitated person; (2) contest the creation of a guardianship for the proposed ward or incapacitated person; (3) contest the appointment of a person as a guardian of the proposed ward or incapacitated person; or (4) contest an application for complete restoration of a ward’s capacity or modification of a ward’s guardianship.” Id. § 1055.001(b). A court “shall determine by motion in limine the standing of a person who has an interest that is adverse to a proposed ward or incapacitated person.” Id. § 1055.001(c). The estates code does not define what constitutes an interest adverse to the proposed ward; however, Black’s Law Dictionary defines “adverse interest” as “an interest that is opposed or contrary to that of someone else.” Adverse interest, Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)… Evidence sufficient to support a finding that a person is indebted to the proposed ward may not be sufficient to establish an adverse interest… However, evidence that a person engaged in self-dealing to the detriment of the proposed ward may establish an adverse interest.
Id. The trial court cited multiple instances of self-dealing by the son, including using over $300,000 in trust funds to pay off his personal credit cards. The court concluded: “the trial court’s copious unchallenged findings of fact, quoted extensively above, are supported by the record and are sufficient to show Stuart engage in repeated acts of self-dealing. Stuart’s acts of self-dealing are sufficient to establish his interests were adverse to Joyce’s interests. Accordingly, we conclude the probate court did not err by finding Stuart lacks standing pursuant to section 1055.001(b) of the estates code and by granting Marla’s motion in limine.” Id.