Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary Field

Latest from Texas Fiduciary Litigator - Page 2

A. Introduction It is not uncommon for beneficiaries to sue a trustee for actions that the beneficiaries had knowledge of but where they failed to object to that conduct for a period of time. In this circumstance, the trustee may want to raise certain equitable defenses to those claims, such as laches, ratification, waiver, and estoppel. Equitable defenses are appropriate for breach of fiduciary duty claims as fiduciary relationships originate in equity. At the core…
In Pense v. Bennett, the ward in a guardianship proceeding sued to invalidate the sale of real property from a trust created for his benefit to an affiliate of the trustee. No. 06-20-00030-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 8002 (Tex. App.—Texarkana October 8, 2020, no pet.). The trial court granted summary judgment for the trustee, held that the sale was effective, but expressly refused to rule on a breach of fiduciary duty claim based on the…
In In re Estate of Hines, the trial court held that an applicant was not equitably adopted by the decedent in an heirship proceeding. No. 06-20-00007-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 8000 (Tex. App.—Texarkana July 27, 2020, no pet.). The applicant appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. The court first addressed the law on equitable adoption: Adoption by estoppel takes place “when [a person’s] efforts to adopt [a child] are ineffective because of failure to…
In Benge v. Thomas, a settlor created a trust and appointed her daughter, Missi, as the trustee. No. 13-18-00619-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 6888 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi August 27, 2020, no pet.). The trust owned an interest in a limited partnership that contained mineral interests. Missi’s daughter, Benge, was a beneficiary of the trust. Benge sued Missi for various claims of breach of fiduciary duty arising from the operation of the limited partnership and other…
In Roels v. Valkenaar, a shareholder filed a shareholder derivative suit against former and current officers and directors of the company based on multiple claims of breach of fiduciary duty. No. 03-19-00502-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 6684 (Tex. App.—Austin August 20, 2020, no pet. history). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and the trial court denied it. The defendants appealed, and the court of appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part. The plaintiffs’…
In In re Estate of Hallmark, an executrix of an estate filed suit in probate court for declarations regarding a partnership and sued the other partners. No. 11-18-00187-CV 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7063 (Tex. App.—Eastland August 31, 2020, no pet. history). One partner filed a cross-claim against the other partner for mismanagement and sought a receivership, which was granted. The managing partner then appealed. The court of appeals held that the probate court did not…
In Kankonde v. Mankan, an attorney appealed the entry of an arbitration award on behalf of his clients, a doctor and his practice. No. 08-20-00052-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7040 (Tex. App.—El Paso August 31, 2020, no pet. history). The attorney then withdrew, and the wife of deceased doctor then filed an appellant’s brief. After providing time to obtain counsel, the court of appeals struck the brief and dismissed the appeal because a non-attorney could…
David F. Johnson presented his paper on “Administering A Trust In A Recession: Trust Loans To Beneficiaries” to the Houston Bar Association’s Probate and Estate Section on October 27, 2020 via a webinar format. This presentation addressed, among other things, a trustee’s authority to loan trust assets to beneficiaries, co-trustee issues, conflicts of interest, the duty of loyalty and confidentiality, the duty to diversify, the duty to properly manage a trust, due diligence and documentation…
In Keel Recovery, Inc. v. Tri City Adjusters, Inc., a company sued its former employee for breach of fiduciary duty related to reporting certain alleged criminal activity related to the repossession of vehicles. No. 05-19-00686-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7273 (Tex. App.—Dallas September 4, 2020, no pet. history). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied, and they appealed. The court of appeals rendered that the trial court should have dismissed the plaintiff’s…
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:…