In re Estate of Renz, 662 S.W.3d 531 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2022, pet. filed).


Will Contest Settlement

During the pendency of a will contest, the trial court approved a settlement resolving all issues and claims. Six years later, the will contestants filed new litigation involving estate property. The trial court granted a motion enjoining the contestants from proceeding with the litigation. The El Paso Court of Appeals affirmed.


The court rejected the will contestants’ claim that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear a motion to enforce the settlement agreement because more than thirty days had elapsed since the court signed the final judgment. The court held that “[a] court with jurisdiction to render a judgment also has the inherent authority to enforce its judgments” and that the “enforcement powers can last until the judgment is satisfied.” Id. at 536. The court also explained that the trial court’s order clearly showed the court’s intent to incorporate the settlement agreement into its final order. The court stated that the words in the judgment “approves and accepts” were sufficient and that the use of the word “incorporated” was not necessary.


Moral: A party to a settlement agreement must realize that issues covered by the agreement cannot be relitigated after settlement remorse sets in.