court rules that the trust owned mining interests and not the settlor’s wife | PC Winstead
In Moore v. Moore Estate, the wife of a deceased claimed she had an interest in an oil and gas concession previously owned by her late husband. N Â° 07-20-00019-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 6142 (Tex. App. â Amarillo July 30, 2021, no animal history). The children of the deceased were the trustees of a trust which was the residual beneficiary of the will of the deceased. If the deceased still owned the mining interest at the time of death, the trust would inherit that interest. After the death of the deceased, the wife and the trustees settled their dispute and reached a settlement agreement which provided: “The parties agree that each will retain and own the real and personal property that it currently owns without any dispute. from another party â. Username. The trustees later sued the wife, alleging that she had breached her contractual obligation to transfer the mining interest to the trust, that she was liable under a theory of money had and received and that she had breached her fiduciary duties. After a jury trial, the trial court ruled in favor of the trustees and ruled that the mining interest belonged to the trust. The woman appealed.
The court of appeal confirmed. The court disagreed with the wife’s argument that the settlement agreement meant that the mining interest belonged to her:
The record shows that Nancy owned a life estate in William’s vested interest in the Goliad / Ledbetter mining lease. However, there is no recorded evidence to show that William gave Nancy an interest – real or possessory – in the Shelton lease. Likewise, there is no conclusive evidence that Nancy otherwise obtained title or possession of Shelton’s lease without William’s consent. Rather, the 2012 judgment simply required that Nancy, as William’s attorney, transfer William’s interest in the Shelton lease to the trust. The 2014 settlement agreement did not, by transfer or waiver, acquire the Shelton lease with Nancy. One way to create a principal-agent relationship is to appoint an attorney by means of a power of attorney. Nancy’s duties as William’s attorney in fact were subject to the terms of the constitution. When we interpret Nancy’s rights and duties as granted under the Power of Attorney, we (1) restrict the meaning of general words in the document to the context in which they exist, and (2) strictly interpret the authority. de Nancy âin such a way as to exclude the exercise of any power which is justified neither by the very terms used, nor as a means necessary to carry out the authority with effect.
We do not find anything in the power of attorney signed by William who made any transfer of the Shelton lease to Nancy. On the contrary, as the language and their context conclusively show, Nancy’s power to act as a lawyer has simply enabled her to perform “acts as well. [William] could do if done in [his] own capacityâ¦ âIn addition, the arbitration and award of 2012 were careful to distinguish between Nancy’s responsibilities asâ a lawyer in fact âfor William and those as an individual. In this case, Nancy’s obligation to transfer to the trust all of William’s direct interest in the Shelton lease was expressly directed to âNancy, in effect acting as counsel for William H. Moore, pursuant to the lasting power of attorney â. That Nancy, as William’s agent, failed to fulfill her obligation to transfer the Shelton lease to the trust did nothing to create a personal interest in the Shelton property; neither was the settlement agreement signed in May 2014. When William passed away in January earlier that year, Nancy’s authority as de facto lawyer ceased. Ergo, William’s vested interest in the Shelton lease had already passed according to his will before the 2014 agreement was signed. The 2014 settlement agreement may have granted Nancy the ability to “keep and own real and personal property such as [she] currently own[es] without any challenge on the part of any other party â, but there is no evidence in the record to indicate that Nancy, individually, ever had any interest in the Shelton lease. We conclude, in this case, that there is no evidence to support the right claimed by Nancy to an interest in the Shelton lease. Since Nancy’s first, second, third, and sixth subproblems depend on her flawed theory that she has an interest in Shelton’s lease, we override these problems.
Username. (internal citations omitted).