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

Disputing Probate Court’s Family Settlement Agreement

Probate disputes are often resolved using family settlement agreements. These agreements can avoid the costs and delays of full will contests. But they can also lead to additional disputes. The Locasico v. Mongrain, No. 07-18-00280-CV (Tex. App.–7th Dist. 2019) case provides an example of a dispute involving a family settlement agreement in probate court. Facts…Continue readingDisputing Probate Court’s Family Settlement Agreement

Can an Executor Who is Removed be Reappointed?

Texas probate courts have broad powers that can be used to protect estates. This includes the power to remove the executor for the estate. But what if the executor did not want to be removed? What remedies do they have? The Estate of Skima, No. 05-18-01288-CV (Ct. App.–5th Dist [Dallas]), case provides an opportunity to…Continue readingCan an Executor Who is Removed be Reappointed?

Time for Probating an Intestate Estate in Texas

There are special rules that are involved when a Texas resident dies without a will. One set of rules involves heirship proceedings. This is a legal term that refers to the process of identifying who is entitled to inherit from someone who died without a will. Heirship proceedings are often filed several years after the…Continue readingTime for Probating an Intestate Estate in Texas