Texas Supreme Court to Hear Case on Forfeiture Clause

The Texas Supreme Court recently granted a petition to review an appeal in Hudson et al. v. Ard, No. 15-0705. The case concerns a will or trust beneficiary’s right to question the actions of executors and trustees in light of a forfeiture clause purporting to disinherit anyone who challenges the will or the representatives. Mary Ard, a beneficiary under the will and a testamentary trust, sued the trustees alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, seeking an accounting, and other relief. The remaining beneficiaries sought to enforce the will’s forfeiture clause, which if triggered would disinherit Ard. The probate court found that Ard’s suit indeed triggered the forfeiture clause.

The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth reversed, holding that merely seeking injunctive relief and a receiver during the pendency of the lawsuit failed to trigger the forfeiture clause. The remaining beneficiaries appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. The case is set for oral argument on March 9, 2017.

By Cassie Garza Matheson

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