In In the Estate of Maberry, the alleged common-law wife of an intestate decedent did not have standing to seek to remove the decedent’s daughter as independent administrator because she was not an “interested person” following her voluntary release of all her rights in the estate in a settlement agreement. No. 11-18-00349-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 10447 (Tex. App.—Eastland December 31, 2020, no pet. history). In the agreement, the alleged heir agreed to accept $2,000 “as consideration for compromise, settlement and release of all claim of [Harper] to any part of the Estate.” The heir then contended that she did not release her right to receive an inheritance from the estate, she only released “claims” against the estate, and her right to receive an inheritance from the estate was not a claim against the estate. The court of appeals disagreed. It first discussed family settlement agreements:

“The settlement agreement and release executed by Harper and Bradshaw was in the nature of a family settlement agreement. The family settlement doctrine is applicable generally when there is a disagreement on the distribution of an estate and the beneficiaries enter into an agreement to resolve the controversy. Family settlement agreements are favored in law because they tend to put an end to family controversies by way of compromise.”


Continue Reading Court Held That An Heir Of An Estate Who Released All Claims Against The Estate Via A Settlement Agreement No Longer Had Standing To Bring Suit

Texas has recently had two opinions that seemingly take opposite views on whether a contingent remainder beneficiary has standing to sue a trustee for trust administration issue.

In In re Estate of Little, a settlor of a revocable trust withdrew trust assets and deposited them into an account with rights of survivorship with one child as the beneficiary. No. 05-18-00704-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7355 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 20, 2019, pet. denied). His other children, who were beneficiaries of the revocable trust, sued the non-settlor co-trustee for allowing that to happen. The trial court granted summary judgment for the co-trustee, and the beneficiaries appealed.

The court of appeals first held that the beneficiaries had standing to bring their claims. The co-trustee argued that as contingent beneficiaries of a revocable trust, the beneficiaries had no standing to complain about what the settlor chose to do with his money during his lifetime. The court of appeals disagreed with this argument:
Continue Reading Texas Courts Conflict On Whether Contingent Remainder Beneficiaries Have Standing To Assert Claims Regarding Trust Administration

In Gonzalez v. De Leon, two sisters (Josefina and Delfina), as part of a family estate plan, transferred certain real property to a limited partnership, formed other limited partnerships to manage and develop the property, and formed a limited liability company to act as general partner of the limited partnerships.  No. 04-14-00751-CV, 2015 Tex.