Wolfe v. Devon Energy Production Co., LP, 382 S.W.3d 434 (Tex. App.—Waco 2012, pet. denied).



Statute of Fraud


In a highly complex case regarding the ownership of oil and gas properties, one of the claimants attempt to demonstrate that the property was held in trust.  Although there was neither a trust instrument nor any document setting out the terms of the trust, the claim was made that the use of the word “trustee” in a deed was sufficient to establish the existence of a trust.  The court explained that when the term “trustee” is used in a deed without more, the term “is merely a description and of no legal effect.”  Id. at 445.  The court likewise rejected a claim that a trust was nonetheless created because the alleged trustee did not actual comply with the terms of the alleged oral trust.  However, the court recognized that there was a fact issue with regard to whether a purchase-money resulting trust existed.


Moral:  A trust should be clearly document in a trust instrument.