Comerica Bank-Texas v. Texas Commerce Bank National Association

2 S.W.3d 723 (1999)

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Comerica Bank-Texas v. Texas Commerce Bank National Association

Texas Court of Appeals
2 S.W.3d 723 (1999)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Gayl Hall Bradfield executed a durable power of attorney in 1986 naming Robert Virden as her attorney-in-fact. The durable power of attorney stated that it would only come into effect if Bradfield became either disabled or incompetent and that it would not terminate upon Bradfield’s disability or incompetence. In 1991, Bradfield executed the Gayl Hall Bradfield Trust. Bradfield was a lifetime beneficiary of the trust, and the trust directed that trust assets would be distributed to the remainder beneficiaries after Bradfield’s death. Bradfield transferred some, but not all, of her assets into the new trust. Comerica Bank-Texas (Comerica) (plaintiff) was named as trustee. Bradfield then made a holographic will naming Chase Bank of Texas (Chase) (defendant) as the executor of her estate. In 1995, Bradfield became incapacitated, triggering her durable power of attorney. Subsequently, Virden, acting as Bradfield’s attorney-in-fact, transferred more of Bradfield’s assets into the trust. Bradfield died in 1997. Chase, as executor, sued Comerica, as trustee, arguing that (1) the 1986 durable power of attorney was invalid because Texas law in 1986 did not allow springing durable powers of attorney; and (2) the assets Virden transferred to the trust pursuant to the invalid power of attorney should be placed in a constructive trust. The trial court held that the 1986 springing durable power of attorney was invalid because it violated 1986 Texas law. Comerica appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grant, J.)

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