Trial Court did not Abuse its Discretion in Ordering Production of Trust Documents
In in re Paschall, the Waco Court of Appeals considered a mandamus challenge to a trial court's order directing an estate executor to produce a copy of testamentary trust documents to contestants of the underlying will. The executor contended the contestants did not have standing as parties interested in the estate or trust. The court of appeals held that the contestants had shown at least some evidence that they were parties interested in the estate:
Here, based on the uncontroverted evidence presented, the trial court implicitly concluded that the Gilberts are Marium's heirs at law, meaning they have a contingent pecuniary interest in the estate should they succeed in their claims regarding the validity of Marium's will. See id.; see alsoTex. Prob.Code Ann. Â§ 3(r) . . As such, the Gilberts appear to have a cognizable interest in this estate; therefore, we cannot say that they lack standing in this matter. . . Moreover, because the Gilberts' evidence appears to demonstrate that they are Marium's heirs at law, and because Marium's will pours her entire estate into the disputed trust, it follows that the trust documents are relevant to the Gilberts' claims and, thus, would be discoverable.
Given the high standard for obtaining mandamus in a discovery dispute, the court appeals decision is not surprising.