In Limine hearing:
A procedure that allows parties to exclude evidence from a jury
Anyone who has a property right or claim against the estate being administered
Probate Law Case
Sheffield v. Scott, 620 S.W.2d 691, 693 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 1981, writ ref’d n.r.e.)
Facts and Procedural History
When Vivian Kent Vilven passed away she had no children and her husband had already passed on. Her closest heirs were her nephew, Carl Kenneth Sheffield and her niece Beverly Sheffield Tipton. William H. Scott, Jr. was her attorney and drafted her will. She also appointed him her Independent Executor. She left the bulk of her estate to Tipton, her automobile to Sheffield, and a diamond ring to Scott. The remainder of the estate would be shared between the three of them. The will had a no contest clause that provided that anyone who contested the will would forfeit his or her gift to the residuals estate.
After all gifts were distributed, Sheffield and Tipton filed a motion claiming all portions of the will benefiting Scott were void and that Vilven was under undue influence. Scott filed a motion to dismiss the cause claiming Scheffield and Tipton were uninterested persons. The court dismissed thee claim after an in limine hearing.
Sheffield and Tipton appealed stating the the trial court erred in denying them a jury trial. They pointed to the Texas Estates Code which states that all contested probate proceedings are entitled to a trial by jury. The court disagreed and stated that before any probate proceeding the parties must establish that they are interested persons, which is done by an in limine proceeding.
Sheffield and Tipton further claimed that the court erred in finding them uninterested persons since 1) they were heirs and beneficiaries, 2) Scott was stopped from raising the issue of interest, 3) there was insufficient evidence, and 4) they had effectively returned the property they received as beneficiaries. The court held that a person becomes an uninterested person once they claim their gift from a will. Since both Sheffield and Tipton have exclusive possession of their gifts, they are deemed uninterested persons.
Is a person still an interested party to a will once he or she has accepted the benefits?
No. Once someone has accepted their gifts from the will, they are no longer an interested party.
Sheffield v. Scott shows that a once someone has accepted the benefits from a will they are no longer in interested party.
Do you need to hire an Experienced Probate Attorney to help settle estates?
If you are the executor or administrator of an estate, you may be wondering if you need to hire a probate attorney. The answer depends on the size and complexity of the estate, as well as the laws of the state where the estate is being administered.
If the estate is large and complex, or if there are disputes among the beneficiaries, it is probably wise to hire an attorney. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that the estate is properly settled.
Even if the estate is small and simple, you may still want to consult with a probate attorney to make sure you are following all of the required legal procedures. In some states, for example, there are specific requirements for how wills must be executed and filed in order to be valid. An experienced probate attorney can help you ensure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to settle the estate. (281) 219-9090.
Related questions and examples (FAQ)
Can a beneficiary contest a will?
If you are a beneficiary of a will, you may be wondering if you can contest the will. The answer to this question depends on the circumstances.
If you are a beneficiary of a will, you may be entitled to contest the will if:
-You were not given everything that you were entitled to under the terms of the will
-The person who made the will did not have the mental capacity to do so
-The will was not properly executed
If you believe that any of these grounds exist, you should speak with an experienced probate attorney to discuss your options.
Does a beneficiary supersede a will in Texas?
If you are the named beneficiary of a will in Texas, you may be wondering if you are still entitled to your inheritance if you have already received some or all of the benefits from the estate. The quick answer is that it depends on the situation.
In most cases, a will does not supersede a beneficiary designation. This means that if you are named as a beneficiary in a will, you will still receive your inheritance even if you have already received some benefits from the estate. However, there are some circumstances in which a will can supersede a beneficiary designation.
For example, if the terms of the will state that the beneficiaries must receive their inheritances “free and clear” of any debts or liabilities of the estate, then any beneficiaries who have already received benefits from the estate may be required to repay those benefits before receiving their inheritances. Additionally, if the court finds that distributing assets to beneficiaries who have already received benefits would cause an undue hardship on other heirs, the court may order that those assets be distributed differently than what is outlined in the will. Ultimately, whether or not a beneficiary supersedes a will in Texas depends on the specific circumstances of each case. If you have questions about your particular situation, it is best to consult with an experienced probate attorney who can advise you of your rights and options under Texas law.
Are beneficiaries entitled to a copy of the will in Texas?
If you are named as a beneficiary in a will, you are entitled to receive a copy of the will upon request. In Texas, the executor of the estate is required to provide beneficiaries with a copy of the will upon request. If you have not received a copy of the will, you may contact the executor directly or ask an attorney to request a copy on your behalf.
What invalidates a will in Texas?
In Texas, a will can be invalidated for a number of reasons. If the will was not properly executed, it may be invalid. This means that it was not signed by the testator in front of two witnesses and notarized. If the will was not witnessed, it may also be invalid.
If the testator was not of sound mind when they executed the will, it may be invalid. This means that they did not understand what they were doing or the consequences of their actions.
If the testator was coerced into signing the will, it may be invalid. This means that they were forced or tricked into signing it against their will.
If there are any changes made to the will after it was signed, those changes may invalidate the will. The only exception to this is if the testator explicitly states in the will that any changes made after signing are valid.
Finally, if any part of the will is found to be illegal, that part of the will is invalid and the rest of the will remains valid.
How to make a will in Texas?
If you’re a beneficiary of a will in Texas, you may be wondering if you’re also an interested party to the will. An interested party is someone who can contest the will, and there are certain circumstances where a beneficiary may also be considered an interested party.
In order to make a will in Texas, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. You’ll need to name an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after your death. You’ll also need to choose beneficiaries – those who will inherit your assets.
You can make your will as simple or complex as you like, but there are some basic things that should be included. First, you’ll need to list all of your assets and debts. This will help your executor determine what needs to be sold or liquidated in order to pay off your debts and distribute your assets according to your wishes.
Next, you’ll need to decide how you want your assets to be distributed. You can leave specific instructions for each asset, or you can simply state that everything should go to one or more beneficiaries. If you have minor children, you’ll need to appoint a guardian for them in your will.
Once you’ve prepared your will, it must be signed by two witnesses in order for it to be valid in Texas. Your witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of your will – they must be impartial parties who can attest to the fact that you were of sound mind.