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Appellate Court Held That Judgment Construing A Trust Was Enforceable And Had Effect When The Trust Was Later Challenged

In Neal v. Neal, the court of appeals affirmed a trial court’s judgment resolving who were the correct beneficiaries of a trust. No. 05-19-00364-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4514 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 17, 2020, no pet. history). The trial court’s judgment declaring the decedent’s sister’s children the remainder beneficiaries of his trust was in line with a prior agreed judgment and was proper because the estate’s assumption ignored the parties’ compromise settlement agreement and the agreed judgment, both of which clearly provided that the trust was amended. The court held: “We interpret an agreed judgment like a contract between the parties, seeking to harmonize and give effect to all its provisions so that none are rendered meaningless.” Id. The court then concluded that the earlier agreed judgment unambiguously stated that the sister’s children were the only remainder beneficiaries of the decedent’s trust. The trial court’s judgment was affirmed.

© 2020 Winstead PC.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 197


About this Author

David Johnson Financial Litigator Winstead Law Firm

David maintains an active trial and appellate practice and has consistently worked on financial institution litigation matters throughout his career. David is the primary author of the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, which reports on legal cases and issues impacting the fiduciary field in Texas. 

David's financial institution experience includes (but is not limited to): breach of contract, foreclosure litigation, lender liability, receivership and injunction remedies upon default, non-recourse and other real estate lending, class...