Estate Administration

Attorney's Fees

In re Estate of Arndt, 187 S.W.3d 84 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2005, no pet.).


Both the trial and appellate court agreed that an unsuccessful will contestant was not entitled to attorney’s fees under Probate Code § 243. Although the jury did determine that the will contestant acted in good faith and with just cause, the amount of fees was not submitted. Because the court did not award attorney’s fees, there is an implied finding that the trial court found against the contestant on the issue of the amount of fees. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 279. The court explained that there was no evidence of the contestant’s employment arrangement with her attorneys. For example, the parties may have agreed to a contingency fee and hence no fees would be owed because the contest action failed.

Moral: When seeking attorney’s fees, a party should present sufficient evidence to prove the amount of those fees.