McCuen v.Huey, 255 S.W.3d 716 (Tex. App.—Waco 2008, no pet.).




In an extremely complex fact pattern involving mineral royalty interests which is fortunately not particularly relevant for our purposes, the appellate court held that “to be effective, a disclaimer of an inheritance is enforceable against the maker only when it has been made with adequate knowledge of that which is being disclaimed.” McCuen, at 731. By noting the case of Nw. Nat’l Cas. Co. v. Doucette, 817 S.W.2d 396 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 1991, writ denied), the court acknowledged that this case is significantly different from cases which hold that a disclaimer may be effective even if the disclaimant is mistaken not about what property is being disclaimed, but rather about to whom the disclaimed property would pass. Accordingly, the court held that the alleged disclaimer in this case was ineffective because the disclaimant did not knowingly disclaim the disputed royalty interests.

Moral: Disclaimers should be carefully drafted to enumerate the property being disclaimed to avoid a later argument that the disclaimant did not understand what property was being disclaimed.