In her lawsuit, Blanca alleged that when Frank decided to sell the Ranch, he told family members they would be given an opportunity to match any offer he received.
Blanca filed the underlying lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction to prevent Frank from conveying the (property based on the statements by the testator).
Trust versus Will in Texas
The same rules of construction apply to both wills and trusts. The construction of an unambiguous trust instrument is a question of law for the trial court.
An appellate court may not focus its attention on what the testator intended to write, but on the meaning of the words he actually used. That is, we must not redraft a trust instrument to vary or add provisions under the guise of construction of the language of the trust to reach a presumed intent. No speculation or conjecture regarding the intent of the testatrix is permissible where, as here, the will is unambiguous, and we must construe the will based on the express language used therein.
This court must harmonize all terms to give proper effect to each part of the instrument; in construing the instrument, we must give effect to all provisions and ensure that no provisions are rendered meaningless. Provided the language of the instrument unambiguously expresses the settlor’s intent, there is no need to construe the instrument because “it speaks for itself.”
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Oral Statements by the Testator about a Texas Will