In re Estate of Womack, 280 S.W.3d 317 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2008, pet. denied).


Class Gift


Testator’s holographic will provided for his entire estate to be divided among his nieces and nephews, his predeceased wife’s nieces and nephews, and one named beneficiary. A later holographic codicil removed this named beneficiary as well as two nephews. The trial court determined that these documents taken together resulted in a class gift with the class containing thirteen individuals. Nephew appealed claiming that only twelve individuals were entitled to Testator’s estate.

The appellate court affirmed. Nephew asserted that Testator’s will did not make a class gift. The court did not find it significant that Testator’s original will stated a total number of beneficiaries. Because Testator did not name the nieces and nephews, other than to exclude two of them, the gift was a class gift and not a gift to specific individuals.

Moral: A class gift must be drafted with care to avoid an allegation that the gift is actually one to specific individuals. Perhaps a direct statement such as, “This is a class gift,” would be helpful.