Yes, you can appeal a Texas probate court ruling if:
- A statute expressly provides that the order is a final, appealable order; or
- The order disposes of all parties and issues in a particular phase of the proceedings.
Determining whether you can appeal a Texas probate decision is often not as straightforward as in civil cases, where there is generally one order or final judgment that is appealable. In Texas probate cases, there are many orders and judgments entered throughout a proceeding that can be subject to an appeal.
In the Estate of Brazda the Texas appeals court discussed the appealability of Texas probate orders, stating:
[P]arties generally may appeal only from final judgments. However, appeals from probate courts, which adjudicate estate administrations, involve an exception to the final-judgment rule because multiple final judgments or orders may be rendered on discrete issues before an entire probate-court proceeding is final. There are two categories of probate-court orders that are considered final, and therefore appealable, even if not every party and issue in the entire proceeding is disposed of by the order. First, statutes may declare certain orders to be final, appealable orders: “If there is an express statute, such as the one for the complete heirship judgment, declaring the phase of the probate proceedings to be final and appealable, that statute controls.” Second, orders that dispose of all parties and issues “in a particular phase of the proceedings” are final, appealable orders.
No. 01-18-00324-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5924 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 11, 2019, no pet. history)
What Are Some Examples Of Appealable Texas Probate Orders?
The Texas Estates Code, section 32.001(c), provides that: “A final order issued by a probate court is appealable to the court of appeals.”
A judgment in a proceeding to declare heirship is a final judgment for purposes of appeal pursuant to Texas Estates Code section 202.202, which states:
(a) The judgment in a proceeding to declare heirship is a final judgment.
(b) At the request of an interested person, the judgment in a proceeding to declare heirship may be appealed or reviewed within the same time limits and in the same manner as other judgments in probate matters.
Action On A Claim
A Texas probate court’s action on a claim is also subject to appeal pursuant to section 355.058 of the Texas Estates Code:
A claimant or any person interested in an estate who is dissatisfied with the court’s action on a claim may appeal the action to the court of appeals in the manner other judgments of the county court in probate matters are appealed.
Probate of A Will
The Texas probate court’s ruling on whether a will is admitted to probate is immediately appealable.
Appointment of An Executor
An order appointing or denying appointment of an executor or administrator may be appealed.
What Are Some Examples Of Probate Orders That Are Not Appealable?
Texas courts have determined that the following probate court orders are not appealable:
- Order requiring court approval for disbursements
- Interim order establishing a budget
- Ruling on demand for a periodic accounting
- Order denying removal of an executor
These orders were not made appealable by any statute, and set the stage for further proceedings, instead of disposing of all parties and issues in a particular phase of the proceeding. Therefore, they did not qualify as probate orders subject to appeal under Texas law.
What Is The Deadline To Appeal A Texas Probate Order?
The deadline to appeal a Texas probate court order or judgment can be very short, sometimes as little as 20 days after entry of the judgment. If you are considering appealing a Texas probate decision, it is imperative that you contact a Texas probate appeals lawyer who can advise you regarding whether your order can be appealed, and the deadline for filing an appeal.