Other Estate Planning Matters

Setting Aside Deeds and Bank Account Contracts

Dubree v. Blackwell, 67 S.W.3d 286 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2001, no pet.).


Friend purchased a house and placed it in Donor’s name. Later, Donor deeded the house to Friend. Donor also placed Friend’s name on a joint account with right of survivorship. After Donor’s death, the sole beneficiary of Donor’s will sued to set aside the deed and bank account contract based on allegations of Donor’s lack of capacity and that Friend asserted undue influence on Donor. The jury found that Donor had capacity and was not subject to undue influence. Beneficiary appealed.

The appellate court affirmed. The court reviewed the evidence in detail and found that the jury’s findings were not against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence and thus were not manifestly unjust.

Moral: A person attempting to show lack of capacity or undue influence needs to present convincing evidence at trial because appellate courts are very reluctant to overturn the findings of a jury.