Miller v. Lucas, No. 02-13-00298-CV, 2015 WL 2437887 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth May 21, 2015, pet denied).


Durable Power of Attorney


Agent transferred Principal’s property to himself using the authority granted under a durable power of attorney. After Principal died, the distributees of Principal’s estate entered into a family settlement agreement and assigned to Plaintiff the right to pursue an action against Agent. The trial court granted a summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff and ordered that the property be conveyed to Plaintiff free of all encumbrances. Agent appealed.


The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding of breach of fiduciary duty because the self-dealing was conclusively established – Agent used the power of attorney to convey Principal’s property to himself by deed. However, the appellate court determined that the trial court’s remedy was excessive because it exceeded the relief Plaintiff sought. The trial court erroneously ordered the property conveyed free of all encumbrances, not just those which arose after Agent sold the property to himself.


Moral:  An agent should not breach fiduciary duties by selling a principal’s property to him/herself.