In In re Estate of Hogan, a father executed a new will, leaving his estate to one of his sons (Harold) and disinheriting his other son (Gary). No. 11-20-00170-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 3863 (Tex. App.—Eastland June 9, 2022, no pet. history). Gary filed a will contest, and the trial court heard same in a bench trial. After the court ruled against Gary, he appealed.
Continue Reading Appellate Court Affirms Findings That Decedent’s Will Was Not A Product Of Undue Influence And That He Had Mental Capacity

In Dillon v. King, one sister contested their father’s will and codicil and also asserted other claims against her sister. No. 05-20-00215-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 2991 (Tex. App.—Dallas May 4, 2022, no pet. history). In 2010, the father executed a will leaving everything equally to his two daughters. Thereafter, he moved to Texas to be near the contestant. The contestant then accessed the father’s bank account. The father told Texas Adult Protective Services that he allowed her to use the account but that she no longer had access to it. Later, the father signed a new codicil, leaving everything to the applicant. After a bench trial, the trial judge admitted the will and codicil to probate and ordered the contestant to take nothing on her other claims. On appeal, the appellate court discussed many different issues.
Continue Reading Court Affirmed Admitting A Codicil To Probate As The Testator Had Mental Capacity And Was Not Unduly Influenced And Discussed Expert Testimony Issues

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 Neal v. Neal, the decedent died leaving three sons. No. 01-19-00427-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 2051 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] March 18, 2021, no pet. history). She had several wills in the last five years of her life, but her final will left all of her estate to one son. The other sons alleged that the last will was invalid due to mental incompetence and due to undue influence. The trial court found against the contestants and admitted the will to probate, and the contestants appealed.
Continue Reading Court Properly Admitted A Will To Probate Where The Evidence Did Not Establish Mental Incompetence Or Undue Influence As A Matter Of Law

In In the Estate of Flarity, a son of the testator challenged the trial court’s probating of a 2004 will and the appointment of two of his siblings, named in that will, as executors. No. 09-19-00089-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7536 (Tex. App.—Beaumont September 17, 2020, no pet. history). The contestant alleged that the testator did not have mental competence. The court of appeals disagreed. The court first addressed the standard for mental competency challenges:

In reviewing evidence addressing a testator’s capacity, we focus on the condition of the testator’s mind on the day the testator executed the will. Under Texas law, whether a testator has the testamentary capacity hinges on the condition of the testator’s mind the day the testator executed her will. Thus, the proponents of the will must prove that, when the testator signed the will, she could understand: the business in which she was engaged, the nature and extent of her property, the persons to whom she meant to devise and bequeath her property, the persons dependent on her bounty, the mode of distribution that she elected to choose among her beneficiaries, a sufficient memory so she could collect the elements of the business she wanted to transact and hold it in mind long enough to allow her to perceive the relationship between property and how she wanted to dispose of it, all so she could form reasonable judgments about doing those things.


Continue Reading Court Affirmed Finding That Testator Had Capacity To Execute A Will, Was Not Unduly Influenced, And That The Appointment of Co-Executors Was Appropriate

In Jackson Walker LLPO v. Kinsel, Lesey and E.A. Kinsel owned a ranch, and when E.A. died, he divided his half between his children and Lesey. Jackson Walker, LLPO v. Kinsel, No. 07-13-00130-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 3586 (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 10, 2015), aff’d in part, 2017 Tex. LEXIS 477 (Tex. May