Moody v. Moody, 613 S.W.3d 707 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2020, pet. filed).

Other Estate Planning Matters

Challenging Marital Property Agreement Using Estates Code

 

One of the decedent’s children successfully challenged the validity of the decedent’s marital property agreement for lack of capacity. Executor appealed asserting this child lacked standing and the appellate court agreed.

 

The court examined, among other statutes, Estates Code § 22.012 which grants standing in estate matters to “an heir, devisee, spouse, creditor, or any other having a property right in or claim against an estate being administered.” The court explained that the child was (1) not an heir because the decedent was testate and the will was uncontested, (2) not a beneficiary because she was not named as beneficiary in the will, (3) not the decedent’s spouse because she was his daughter, (3) not a creditor as the decedent did not owe her money, and (4) she did not have a right or claim against the decedent’s property. Accordingly, the child lacked standing to assert the invalidity of the marital property agreement using the Estates Code.

 

Moral:  A litigant cannot bootstrap “together several statutory definitions without more” to obtain standing.

 

 



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