Family Settlement Agreements in Texas

Settlements

Effects of a Family Settlement Agreement?

Effects of a Family Settlement Agreement in TexasIf as part of a will contests, you enter into a family settlement agreement, can you appeal the settlement if you become dissatisfied? The Dallas court of appeals has recently written on this issue and has determined that if you accepted benefits under the settlement agreement, you cannot appeal. The case involved the probate of a will by the life partner of the testator. The will left everything to the life partner. The siblings of the testator filed a will contest. The parties decided to settle and entered into a family settlement agreement which was dictated into the record in open court. The siblings accepted benefits under the agreement including possession of a car. Thereafter, when the family settlement agreement was reduced to writing, one of the siblings refused to sign it. The other sibling and the life partner asked the court to enter an order approving the family settlement agreement and authorizing the distribution of the estate. The court did do that. The sibling that was not satisfied, appealed. The Dallas court of appeals dismissed the appeal. The court said that when you enter into a family settlement agreement and accept benefits, you cannot appeal the court ruling. The court pointed out that there two exceptions to that rule neither of which applied in this case. The first exception was where the party appealing would have received the same benefit had there been no family settlement agreement. That exception didn't apply in this case because the will left everything to life partner, therefore, the sibling would not have received anything if the will had been admitted to probate. The second exception is where a party has to enter into  the settlement agreement because of financial duress. The court said that there was no evidence of financial duress in this case and dismissed the appeal. 05-06-01109.

Find Out About Contracts to Make a Will

Find Out About Contracts to Make a Will in TexasThis question usually comes up when a husband and wife make their wills at the same time. A contractual will is different from a joint will. A joint will is just one document that has the testamentary wishes of two people. It is not contractual.

A contractual will can be established only by the provisions of the will itself, or the provisions of a binding and enforceable written agreement.  The mere fact that the testators signed a joint will, or that they frequently used the pronouns we, us and our does not establish the fact that the will was executed pursuant to an agreement to make a mutual will.

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Family Settlement Agreements In Texas

Family Settlement Agreements In Texas

Texas recognizes what are called “family settlement agreements.”  A family settlement agreement will be enforced by a court even if the distribution of the assets under the agreement differ from the distribution of the assets under the will.  A family settlement agreement is an alternative method of administration in Texas that is a favorite of the law.

Family settlement agreements may come about when the will does not treat the testator’s children equally but all of the children want to divide the estate equally.  This happens when a parent and a child are estranged at the time of the execution of the will.  The family may want most of the estate to go to a less fortunate sibling who is not doing as well financially as the others.  There may also be tax reasons to enter into a family settlement agreement.

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Robert Ray is Board Certified

Robert Ray is the Editor and owner of this site. Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

We handle cases throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Tyler, Texas.

Robert Ray, Texas inheritance attorney.Click here to email us or to go to the contact form if you want to contact us about a Texas inheritance dispute.

Robert Ray is Board Certified

Robert Ray is the Editor and owner of this site. Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

We handle cases throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Tyler, Texas.

Robert Ray, Texas inheritance attorney.Click here to email us or to go to the contact form if you want to contact us about a Texas inheritance dispute.

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