Estate of Burns, No. 04-19-00284-CV, 2020 WL 354940 (Tex. App.—San Antonio Jan. 22, 2020, pet. filed).

Estate Administration


Testator’s will devised the bulk of his estate to Cousin. Cousin predeceased Testator. The successors in interest to Cousin’s estate asserted that the Texas anti-lapse statute would save the lapsed gift in their favor and thus they have standing to be involved in disputes involving Testator’s estate. Because Cousin in not a descendent of Testator or of Testator’s parents, the Texas anti-lapse statute, Estates Code § 255.153, would not prevent this gift from lapsing. Accordingly, the court held that Cousin’s successors in interest did not qualify as interested persons under Estates Code § 22.018 and thus they lacked standing under Estates Code § 55.001 to assert a claim in Testator’s probate proceeding. The court also refused to interpret the will to provide an alternate gift to Cousin’s successors in interest merely because to do so would prevent the property from passing by intestacy.

Moral:  A well-drafted will should provide for alternate beneficiaries if the primary residuary beneficiary predeceases the testator.