Other Matters


Tardy Disclaimer Acts as Assignment

Krishnan v. Ramirez, 42 S.W.3d 205 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2001, pet. denied).


Husband and Wife sued Doctor for her alleged medical malpractice which resulted in their child being stillborn. Wife died during the pendency of the litigation. Husband executed a document approximately two years after Wife’s death which purportedly disclaimed his interest in Wife’s cause of action in favor of Child. The court held that this document could not act as a disclaimer because it was not filed within nine months of Wife’s death as required by Prob. Code § 37A(b). However, the ineffective disclaimer was nonetheless effective as an assignment to Child, that is, the person who would have received Wife’s cause of action if Husband had died prior to Wife.

Moral: A person who wishes to disclaim should file the disclaimer within nine months of the decedent’s death.