In re Morris

577 S.W.2d 748 (1979)

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In re Morris

Texas Court of Civil Appeals
577 S.W.2d 748 (1979)

  • Written by Nathan Herkamp, JD

Facts

Margaret Morris died on April 1, 1975. Henry M. Morris (defendant), Margaret’s husband, survived her and offered a will dated November 19, 1965, for probate and received letters testamentary. The 1965 will left Margaret’s property to Henry. Later, Becky Jean Whitaker (plaintiff), Margaret’s daughter, offered a will dated March 22, 1968, for probate. The 1968 will revoked all prior wills and left Henry one dollar, with the residue of the estate to be divided between Margaret’s children, Becky Jean and Henry Lee Morris. Becky Jean and Henry Lee had agreed not to probate the 1968 will because they feared it would upset Henry. Becky Jean probated the 1968 will anyway, and Henry contested the 1968 will. A jury found that the agreement not to probate the 1968 will was made so that Henry would not be upset but did not include the distribution of assets in lieu of the will. Henry argued that the agreement not to probate the will without determining the distribution of estate assets implied an agreement to distribute estate assets in accordance with the 1965 will. The trial court determined that the 1968 will had been proved as required by law. The court then set aside the probate of the 1965 will. However, the court did not grant letters testamentary to Becky Jean, instead decreeing that the estate pass according to the intestacy laws. Henry and Becky Jean both appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reynolds, J.)

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