Estate of Keener, No. 13-18-00007-CV, 2019 WL 758872 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi-Edinburg, Feb. 21, 2019).

Estate Administration

Determination of Heirship



Beneficiary of Decedent’s inter vivos trust filed a plea in intervention in an action to determine Decedent’s heirs. Beneficiary claimed that he, as the trust beneficiary, was the owner of property the heirs sought to inherit. The trial court said that the documents Decedent used to transfer property to the inter vivos trust lacked testamentary intent making them ineffective and that the trust was designed to transfer only a suppressor (a gun “silencer”). Thus, the trial court denied the plea holding that Beneficiary lack a justiciable interest.


The appellate court reversed because the trial court’s decision was an abuse of discretion having been made without reference to guiding rules and principles. The court explained the fallacies with the trial court’s reasons for denying the plea. First, testamentary intent is not needed to transfer property to an inter vivos trust. Second, Decedent could add property to the trust in any manner and at any time because no trust terms restricted adding property to the trust.


Moral:  A person claiming property as a trust beneficiary has standing to intervene in a proceeding to declare heirship when the heirs seek to inherit the same property.