Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary Field

Latest from Texas Fiduciary Litigator

In In re Estate of Ethridge, a testatrix signed a will that provided that “all my personal effects” would be devised to her nephew in law and that her half interest in a home went to another person. No. 11-17-00291-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 9564 (Tex. App.—Eastland October 31, 2019, no pet.). The trial court concluded that the term “all my personal effects” did not include all of the testatrix’s property other than the home,…
I. Introduction Individuals execute trusts and wills to determine how certain assets are to be managed and distributed. Those same individuals may want to have some control over the dispute resolution process for any conflicts that arise in the future. Specifically, an individual may want to keep disputes in the court system, but want to waive all parties’ rights to a jury trial. A jury-waiver clause can potentially waive a party’s right to a jury…
  In In re Alexander, a beneficiary filed suit against the trustee based on multiple allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, including an allegation that the trustee attempted to transfer the trustee position to successors in violation of the trust’s terms. No. 14-18-00466-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 6474 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] July 30, 2019, original proc.). The beneficiary filed a motion to compel trust documents and emails regarding same that were drafted by an…
In Austin v. Austin, after the decedent passed, his daughters probated an April 2016 will, and his wife then sought to probate a December 2016 will. No. 03-18-00678-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8255 (Tex. App.—Austin September 12, 2019, no pet. history). The daughters alleged that the December 2016 will was a forgery. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court admitted the December 2016 will to probate, and the daughters appealed. The court of appeals first…
In In re Topletz, the trial court ordered a party jailed for civil contempt for failing to comply with an order to produce documents from a family-run trust during post-judgment discovery in a suit against him individually where the party contended the documents were not within his possession, custody, or control. No. 05-19-00327-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8249 (Tex. App.—Dallas September 11, 2019, original proceeding). The party was a beneficiary of a trust that provided…
In Hoffpauir v. Cormier, parties sought to modify the terms of a trust agreement under Texas Property Code section 112.054(a) to extend the trust’s term. No. 09-18-00358-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8473 (Tex. App.—Beaumont August 21, 2019, no pet. history). After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted the modification. A pro se beneficiary appealed but failed to have the reporter’s record prepared. The court of appeals summarily affirmed due to an inadequate record. The…
In In the Estate of Sakima, the probate court appointed a decedent’s sister as his administrator in 2011. No. 05-18-01288-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8209 (Tex. App.—Dallas September 10, 2019, no pet. history). After multiple show-cause notices, the probate court removed the administrator in 2018. The court held that an estate with a foreclosed home and a $30,000 bank account should not still be open after seven years. There was also a $8,000 check had…
In Gray vs. Ward, Ward and Gray started a limited partnership where Ward was a limited partner and Gray was a limited partner and the manager of the general partner. No. 05-18-00266-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 9, 2019, no pet.). Ward was also an employee of the partnership, but there was no written employment agreement. Ward wanted to exit the relationship, and the parties had a dispute concerning the amount to…
David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, presented “Detecting Elder Abuse and The Duty to Report Financial Exploitation” to the Southwest Association of Bank Counsel on Thursday, September 26, 2019, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This presentation focused on factors to detect the two main tools of elder abuse, undue influence and mental incompetence, and also discussed a financial institution’s duty to report elder abuse to the proper authorities.  David also…
David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, discusses the law in Texas and practical advice regarding a trustee’s right to compensation. CLICK HERE FOR WEBINAR Trustee Compensation_Slides Trustee Compensation Paper If you are interested in joining our next complimentary webinar or presentation, please send your request to David Johnson at dfjohnson@winstead.com