Texas Court of Appeals

In Jones v. Jones, the decedent’s wife filed an application for probate of an attested will for her husband, and the decedent’s son from a previous marriage filed a petition contesting the will. No. 01-20-00073-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 2019 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] March 29, 2022, no pet. history). The trial court denied the application to probate the will, and the wife appealed.
Continue Reading Court Holds That Initialing A Will Is Sufficient To Meet The Execution Requirement

In Hussion St. Bldgs., LLC v. TRW Eng’rs, Inc., the plaintiff landowner claimed its real property was injured by the failure of an engineering firm involved in developing the adjoining property to include a water-detention plan. No. 14-20-00641-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 2193 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] April 5, 2022, no pet. history). The landowner asserted claims of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, and the trial court granted the engineering firm’s summary-judgment motion on the grounds that limitations barred the negligence claim and licensed engineers do not owe fiduciary duties to non-clients.
Continue Reading Court Holds That Engineer Does Not Owe Fiduciary Duties To A Non-Client

In In re Estate of Vines, a probate court appointed a receiver over a business that was owned by a decedent. No. 01-21-00003-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 2327 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] April 12, 2022, no pet. history). After the decedent died, her grandchildren challenged a new will and other documents that were executed by their grandmother in favor of the grandmother’s nephew. The trial court appointed a temporary administrator and later appointed a receiver over a business that was owned by the grandmother, but that was now controlled by the nephew. The nephew appealed the receivership order on multiple grounds.
Continue Reading Appellate Court Affirmed Receivership Order Where Appellant Waived His Complaints By Not Securing Rulings And By Not Challenging All Potential Grounds Upon Which The Order Was Based

In In re Bumstead Irrevocable Trust, beneficiaries of a trust sued a trustee for various causes of action and sought, and obtained, orders suspending his powers as trustee, appointing a receiver, and ordering him to prepare an adequate accounting. No. 13-20-00350-CV 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 1686 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi March 10, 2022, no pet. history). The trustee appealed. The court of appeals first addressed whether it had jurisdiction over the orders that suspended the trustee’s powers and ordered him to prepare an accounting.
Continue Reading Court Affirms Orders Against A Trustee Granting Injunctive Relief And Appointing A Receiver

In In re Robinett, a party filed a petition for writ of mandamus, challenging a trial court’s order appointing a temporary administrator. No. 03-21-00649-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 926 (Tex. App.—Austin February 9, 2022, original proc.). The petitioner complained that the trial court failed to hold an evidentiary hearing and also appointed a temporary administrator without a bond.
Continue Reading Court Reversed Order Appointing Temporary Administrator Due To A Lack Of A Bond

In Estate of Erwin, a husband died leaving some property to his wife and creating two trusts, naming his wife as the trustee and beneficiary with his children as remainder beneficiaries. No. 13-20-00301-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 10160 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi December 29, 2021, no pet.). The wife commingled property and made other transfers of property. She then died, and one of her children became the successor administrator of the husband’s estate and the administrator of the mother’s estate.
Continue Reading Court Held That A Beneficiary’s Claims Against The Estate Of The Trustee Was Not Barred By Limitations

In LaPree v. LaPree, a wife had three trusts where she was the primary beneficiary. No. 03-20-00465-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 1325 (Tex. App.—Austin February 24, 2022, no pet. history). Upon attaining the age of thirty two, the trusts terminated and the trustee transferred the assets to the wife. The husband and wife then created a revocable trust.
Continue Reading Texas Court Held That Wife’s Trust Funds Were Her Separate Property And Was Not Converted To Community Property Despite Being Transferred To A New Trust

In In re Estate of Aldrete, a decedent’s son from a first marriage had a 1981 will admitted to probate, which left real property to him. No. 04-20-00426-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 322 (Tex. App.—San Antonio January 19, 2022, no pet. history). Later, a second son from a second marriage filed a motion to set aside the 1981 will and admit a newer 2008 will, which left the real property to the decedent’s second wife, the second son’s mother. After the court granted the motion, the first son appealed. The first son initially complained about the process followed by the trial court.
Continue Reading Court Affirmed Admission Of Will To Probate Over Challenges To Testimony Based On Lack Of Medical Training By A Non-Medical Witness And From An Anesthesiologist

In Janine v. McAfee, parties fought over who should be the administrator of an estate. No. 01-20-00717-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 10101 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] December 23, 2021, no pet. history). A man and woman divorced in 1983 and executed a post-divorce settlement agreement that purported to divide their assets. The man died in 1997, and his sister was his executor. The woman died in 2011, and her daughter became the executor of her estate. The daughter filed suit on behalf of the woman’s estate regarding the ownership of certain assets. The sister of the man was elderly, and her daughter became the successor administrator of his estate. Then the man’s granddaughter intervened in the man’s estate and filed a motion to vacate the appointment of executrix’s daughter as successor administrator and filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgment, alleging that she should be appointed the successor administrator. The trial court denied both motions, and an appeal followed.
Continue Reading Appellate Court Held That It Did Not Have Jurisdiction Over A Probate Court’s Order Denying A Motion For Summary Judgment And Motion To Vacate Appointment Of A Successor Administrator

In Clark v. Clark, two brothers sued a third brother regarding the third brother’s ability to be trustee of a trust due to a traumatic brain injury. No. 14-19-00604-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 9866 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] December 14, 2021, no pet.). The parties’ mother created a testamentary trust that held a family business and named the third brother as the trustee. The will provided that “[i]f for any reason, SCOTT ALEXANDER CLARK, shall fail to qualify or cease to serve, for any reason, as Trustee under my Will, I designate and appoint as successor Co-trustees my sons, STEVEN WAYNE CLARK and ROBERT GEORGE CLARK.” Id. The two brothers alleged that because the third suffered a traumatic brain injury that required brain surgery, intubation, and hospitalization, he had ceased to serve or was unable to serve as trustee of the trust. They sought a preliminary order that declared that “(1) Scott had ceased to serve or was unable to serve as trustee; (2) Steven and Robert are successor co-trustees under the terms of the Will; and (3) Steven and Robert, as successor co-trustees of the Trust, are appointed to manage the assets of the Trust so long as Scott is unable to do so.” Id. The two brothers also sought a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction prohibiting the company’s employees from interfering with their operation of the business. The trial court granted the order, and the third brother appealed.
Continue Reading Court Affirmed Order Granting Injunction To Allow Successor Trustees To Manage A Business Owned By A Trust