Estate of Maberry, No. 11-18-00349-CV, 2020 WL 7863337 (Tex. App.—Eastland Dec. 31, 2020, no pet. h.).

Estate Administration

Standing

 

Daughter and Alleged Common Law Wife (ACLW) mediated their dispute and resolved their claims. Later, ACLW filed an application to remove Daughter as the independent executor alleging misfeasance in the administration of the estate. Daughter successfully argued to the trial court that ACLW no longer had standing because of the settlement. ACLW appealed.

 

The appellate court affirmed. ACLW argued that the settlement agreement could not bar her claim because the alleged misfeasance occurred after they signed the agreement and thus she would have standing to pursue her claim. The court explained that ACLW released all claims and demands that “were or could have been asserted” and that included her claim to share in the decedent’s estate as a surviving spouse. In fact,

 ACLW already received personal property and cash from Daughter in consideration of ACLW’s release of all claims to the decedent’s estate.

 

The court also rejected ACLW’s claim that she was an interested person under Estates Code § 22.018. The court recognized that there is a division of authority in Texas regarding whether a “devisee, heir, spouse, or creditor” must also have a pecuniary interest in the estate to have standing. After reviewing the conflicting cases, the court determined that standing was lost because she agreed to release all of her potential rights and interests in the estate.

 

Moral:  A person who enters into a settlement agreement will lack standing to pursue claims already settled if the person later has “settlement remorse.”

 

 



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