F+B has recently concluded its probate litigation representation of the surviving spouse of an elderly man who died in Bastrop County. Following his death, the Decedent’s children from his previous marriage contested his Will and the surviving spouse’s right to receive a portion of the estate.
The Decedent and his wife married in 1996, and they lived in a home in Bastrop, Texas. During their marriage, they acquired numerous pieces of real property all over the state of Texas and in Louisiana. The Decedent had also acquired some of these properties prior to the couple’s marriage. By the time of the Decedent’s death, the real estate had a substantial value, and a substantial portion of the mortgage payments for the properties had been paid from the couple’s income during their marriage.
One of the main issues in the case related to the fact that the Decedent insisted that his wife execute a pre-marital agreement prior to their marriage. Thereafter, he insisted that his wife execute deeds disclaiming her interests in some of the properties to him. The wife alleged that the Decedent had forced her to sign the documents under duress and that she was not given the opportunity to read the documents before she was required to sign them. Additionally at issue was the fact that so much of the expense for the properties was paid from the couple’s joint funds, which would indicate that the wife held an interest in the properties.
Ultimately, the litigation involved significant accounting issues to trace all of the money expended on properties and generated through the rentals of the properties. The parties attended mediation and resolved their claims in mediation. The wife, represented by F+B, achieved a solid settlement that satisfied her goals in the litigation.
Cases like this require varied expertise in not only probate issues, but also in accounting/tracing issues and real estate issues. F+B utilized its varied expertise in these issues to achieve a great result for our client.