Signing a Will With a Rubber Stamp

A will has to be executed with the proper legal formalities. This includes having the terms of the will be in writing and signed by the decedent. There have been a number of disputes as to what counts as a writing and what counts as a signature. The courts have developed a body of case…Continue readingSigning a Will With a Rubber Stamp

Broken Promise to Leave Property to Heir

What happens if someone makes a promise to leave property to another person in their will, but then they update their estate plan and fail to provide the property as promised? Can the person who expected to receive the property recover from the property from the probate estate? If so, what if the promise was…Continue readingBroken Promise to Leave Property to Heir

Adult Child’s Rights to Parent’s House

Living arrangements can pose a number of problems when an older family member is placed in a home or they die. The family members have to decide what to do with the property. These issues often result in probate litigation after the parent dies. But what about when the parent is alive, but incapacitated? If…Continue readingAdult Child’s Rights to Parent’s House

The Measure of Damages in Probate Litigation

An executor has a fiduciary duty as to the beneficiaries of a probate estate. If they breach this duty, the beneficiaries still have to establish the amount of any damages. If the damage is the loss of property, the measure of damages is the fair market value of the property that was lost. This raises…Continue readingThe Measure of Damages in Probate Litigation

Time Limits for Texas Probate Disputes

There are a number of deadlines that apply in probate disputes. These deadlines are strict given the policy for having finality with probate matters. The recent Watson v. Schrader, No. 11-18-00064-CV (Tex. App. [11th Dist.]–2020) case provides an example. Facts & Procedural History The dispute involved wills executed in 1995 and a family trust created…Continue readingTime Limits for Texas Probate Disputes

The Term “Personal Property” in a Will Includes Bank Accounts

When a loved one dies, the surviving family members often find that the decedent’s will included terms that they do not agree with. This may be due to family dynamics, a sense of entitlement, or simply a differing view of who should inherit. These situations often lead to probate disputes. The In re Estate of…Continue readingThe Term “Personal Property” in a Will Includes Bank Accounts

What County do you File a Probate Application in Texas?

What county do you file a probate application in for a Texas probate? The general rule is you file the application in the county in which the decedent resided. But this may not always be the case. The In re Estate of Griffith, No. 05-19-01144-CV (Tex. App.–Dallas [5th Dist.]), provides an example. Facts & Procedural…Continue readingWhat County do you File a Probate Application in Texas?

Can a Dead Person Sue You?

If someone dies, does Texas law allow the dead person to sue you? The answer is not as clear cut as one would think. The court addresses this in Balderaz v. Martin, No. 13-18-00056-CV (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2019).Continue readingCan a Dead Person Sue You?

Recovering Attorney Fees in a Probate Case

One of the issues that often comes up in probate cases is whether the parties can recoup their attorneys fees from the estate. The answer is usually yes, but there are rules involved. The Estate of Pharris, No. 10-17-00260-CV (Ct. App.–Waco 2019), case provides an opportunity to consider these rules. Facts & Procedural History This…Continue readingRecovering Attorney Fees in a Probate Case

Appointment of Temporary Guardian Not Immediately Appealable

In probate and guardianship cases, the parties can appeal most court orders immediately. But what about the appointment of a temporary guardian? If you do not agree with the appointment, can you immediately appeal the probate court’s decision? The court addresses this in In Re Guardianship of Laverne T. Cady, No. 04-19-00588-CV (Ct. App. —…Continue readingAppointment of Temporary Guardian Not Immediately Appealable