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Probate Law Blog Probate Litigation

Probate Disputes Involving Invalid Real Estate Transfers


Probate disputes often involve wills that intentionally omit or fail to provide for one or more children. The probate courts provide a forum for resolving these disputes. But the omitted children may not want to deal with the probate process. For example, they may just file deeds to transfer the decedent’s real estate to themselves […]

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Probate Law Blog Probate Litigation

Texas Probate: Liability for Failing to Make Distribution


The person who serves as the personal representative in a Texas probate can be personally liable for certain actions or omissions. This is why many personal representatives opt for a dependent administration. But the personal representative can even be personally liable in a dependent administration. The recent Estate of Brazda, No. 01-18-00324-CV (Tex. App. [Houston […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Can a Letter be Treated as a Handwritten Will in Texas?


Can a handwritten letter that names an executor and does little else count as a valid will in Texas? The court addresses this in Estate of Silverman, No. 14-18-00256-CV (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2019).

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Guardianship Probate Law Blog

Guardianship Applications and Personal Service


If a party enters an appearance in a guardianship proceeding, do they still have to be personally served with a new application that is filed in the same case? Texas law requires service when a guardianship application is filed, but is this necessary when the party is already entered an appearance? The court addresses this […]

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Probate Administration Probate Law Blog

Who is an Interested Party in a Texas Probate?


One generally has to be an “interested party” to participate in the probate process in Texas. If an interested party in an estate is distributed property in full satisfaction of their interest, are they no longer an interested party? The court addresses this in Estate of Daniels, No. 06-18-00049-CV (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2019).

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Probate Law Blog Probate Litigation

Appointing a Receiver to Sell Jointly Owned Property


When co-owners of property are at odds over the property, it may be necessary to have a court appoint a receiver to manage and/or sell the property. This remedy isn’t always available, as evidenced by the In re Estate of Martinez, No. 01-18-00217-CV (Tex. Ct. App.–Houston 2019) case.

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Probate Law Blog Probate Litigation

Challenging Probate Court’s Order to Settle Lawsuits


If a probate court appoints a temporary administrator and approves a settlement for outstanding lawsuits against the estate, heirs with an interest in the estate may have limited options for challenging the decision to settle the lawsuit. The Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, No. 03-17-00865-CV (Tex. App.-3d Dist [Austin] – 2019), case provides an example.

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

Planning for Special Needs Trusts


Special needs trusts can provided additional resources for disabled minors and adults.  Special care has to be taken in planning for these trusts.  The recent Estate of Mendard, No. 14-18-00434-CV (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2019) provides an example.  It involves a special needs trust that ended up owning a house that the disabled beneficiary’s […]

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Probate Law Blog Probate Litigation

Voiding a Common Law Marriage After Death


Will contest suits often involve children whose inheritance is being claimed by a third party who asserts to be common law married to the childrens dead parent.  This raises questions as to whether the new spouse is entitled to all or some of the decedent’s assets.  The recent Estate of Durrell, No. 13-17-00431-CV (Tex. App. – Corpus […]

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Estate Planning Probate Law Blog

What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will?


What if You Cannot Talk or Sign a Will? Generally, for a will to be valid, one has to communicate their wishes in a will and the will has to be signed.  This begs the question as to how someone who cannot speak or sign a will can execute a valid will.  The court addressed this […]