Estate Administration

Appellate Jurisdiction

Bill of Review

In re Estate of Davidson, 153 S.W.3d 301 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2004, pet. denied).


The trial court denied a bill of review under Probate Code § 31 but did not sever it from the underlying will contest. The moving party appealed. The appellate court dismissed the appeal holding that it lacked jurisdiction because the order denying the bill of review was not a final and appealable order. The court explained that the ultimate issue was whether the court’s order admitting the will to probate should be set aside. In addition to the bill of review pleading, the will contestants also filed a traditional will contest under Probate Code § 93 which had not yet been decided. Because the issues overlap and the court had not yet ruled on all issues, the ruling on the bill of review was not a final and appealable order as required by Crowson v. Wakeham, 897 S.W.2d 779, 783 (Tex. 1995).

Moral: A party unhappy with a court order must make certain it is final and appealable before filing an appeal. Otherwise, a considerable waste of time and money will result.