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Hare v. Longstreet

Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler

November 8, 2017

LARRY W. HARE, APPELLANT
v.
LINDA DEE LONGSTREET, APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 1 HENDERSON COUNTY, TEXAS (Tr.Ct.No. 08240-CCL-15)

          Panel consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.

          OPINION

          Brian Hoyle, Justice.

         Larry W. Hare appeals from a trial court judgment determining that sums in an Austin Bank checking account do not belong to him. In three issues, Hare contends the trial court erred in rendering judgment that he does not have a right of survivorship in the account. We affirm.

         Background

         In 1998, L.D. Hare opened a checking account at Austin Bank. Two years later, he added Sherry A. Longstreet to the account. In January 2015, he added his son, Larry W. Hare, to the same account. Later that year, L.D. died. Sherry became incapacitated and Linda Longstreet was appointed as her guardian. Austin Bank filed a petition in interpleader requesting the court determine whether the funds in the account should be disbursed to Hare or to Sherry. Sherry died before the case was tried.

         The trial court granted the Bank's petition in interpleader, and the funds in the account were tendered to the registry of the court. After a short hearing, the trial court found that the account should pass through probate because the evidence was insufficient to prove that the parties had created a joint account with the right of survivorship. Hare appeals.

         Survivorship Designation

         In three issues, Hare contends the trial court erred in rendering judgment that he does not have a right of survivorship in the Austin Bank account. He asserts that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the following findings of fact:

7. That the evidence in this case fails to show a compliance with said Section 113.151; that there is absolutely no compliance with section (b); there is no document/evidence presented to the Court that is substantially similar to the required language as contained in said section (b).
9.That based on the fact there is no written documents [sic] or other evidence before the Court with language therein substantially in compliance with Section 113.151(b); thus there is no evidence to prove that the funds should pass to LARRY W. HARE.
10. That the account funds should pass through probate, and thus to LINDA DEE LONGSTREET.

         Standard of Review

         In an appeal of a judgment rendered after a bench trial, the trial court's findings of fact have the same weight as a jury's verdict, and we review the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence used to support them just as we would review a jury's findings. In re Doe, 19 S.W.3d 249, 253 (Tex. 2000); Anderson v. City of Seven Points, 806 S.W.2d 791, 794 (Tex. 1991). When challenged, a trial court's findings of fact are not conclusive if, as in the present case, there is a complete reporter's record. In re K.R.P., 80 S.W.3d 669, 673 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, pet. denied). A party who challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence to support an issue upon which he had the burden of proof at trial must demonstrate on appeal that, as a matter of law, the evidence establishes all vital facts in support of the issue. Dow Chem. Co. v. Francis, 46 S.W.3d 237, 241 (Tex. 2001) (per curiam). The reviewing court first examines the record for evidence that supports the finding, crediting favorable evidence if a reasonable fact finder could, while disregarding contrary evidence, unless a reasonable ...


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