Estate Administration


Inter Vivos Deeds of Devised Land

Saenz v. Saenz, 49 S.W.3d 447 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2001, no pet.).


After Testator executed his will, he signed deeds conveying property devised in the will. The county court admitted Testator’s will to probate and appointed Executor to administer the estate. Grantees of the deeds sued Executor in district court to establish their claims to the property which they asserted would be superior the rights of the devisees. Executor argued that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear Grantees’ claims because of the pending probate action in the county court.

Both the district and appellate courts agreed with Executor that the district court lacked jurisdiction. The courts explained that the title to the land which was both devised and conveyed inter vivos is a matter appertaining to Testator’s estate. Prob. Code § 5A. Accordingly, the county court’s jurisdiction is exclusive as long as the estate administration is pending in that court.

Moral: Litigators should read the Probate Code to make certain they file lawsuits in the proper court.