Decker v. Decker, 192 S.W.3d 648 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2006, no pet.).

 Other Estate Planning Matters



Son and Daughter-in-law moved in with Father to care for him. Father made several inter vivos transfers of real property and a motor home to Son. Son died. After Son’s death, Father was successful in setting aside the inter vivos transfers on the grounds that he was unduly influenced and that he lacked the mental capacity to make the transfers. Daughter-in-law appealed.

The appellate court affirmed. The court engaged in a careful review of the evidence and determined that it was sufficient to support the jury’s determination that Father was unduly influenced and lacked the mental capacity to transfer the real property. Accordingly, Father still owns the real property.

With regard to the motor home, the situation was a bit more complex because Daughter-in-law had already sold the motor home to her uncle and the trial court’s judgment did not award the motor home to either Daughter-in-law or Father. The appellate court found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s finding that Father was unduly influenced to transfer the motor home and thus the transaction should be set aside. Uncle did not obtain a finding that he was a bona fide purchaser and thus the motor home still belongs to Father.

Moral: An appellant will have a difficult time setting aside a jury verdict that a transfer was due to undue influence or made while the donor lacked capacity.