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Knopf v. Gray
Texas Supreme Court
545 S.W.3d 542 (2018)
Vada Wallace Allen left a will devising various property to her children and instructing that the property be passed down to their children. Allen’s will contained a provision devising her land to her son, William Robert Gray (defendant). The provision stated that Gray was to maintain the land. The provision also prohibited Gray from selling the land, so that it could be passed down to his three children. After Gray sold the land to Polasek Farms, LLC (collectively, Gray) (defendants), two of Gray’s children, Annette Knopf and Stanley Gray (collectively, Knopf) (plaintiffs), filed an action in Texas state court. Knopf sought a declaration that Allen had devised a life-estate interest to Gray, which prohibited the sale. Gray argued that Allen had devised a fee-simple interest in the property. Gray also argued the instructions indicating the land was not to be sold constituted an invalid restraint on sale, and that the language Allen used did not have the legal effect of creating a life estate. The trial court granted summary judgment to Gray on the ground that Allen had unambiguously devised a fee-simple interest. The matter was appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The matter was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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