In re Estate of Aguilar, 435 S.W.3d 831 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2014, no pet.).

Estate Administration

Appellate Jurisdiction


After plaintiffs in a wrongful death action sued the alleged tortfeaser in El Paso County, the personal representative filed a motion to transfer the case to Bexar County where the administration of the decedent’s estate was pending.  The probate court granted the motion under Estates Code § 34.001.  The plaintiffs appealed.


The appellate court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.  The court explained that a transfer under Estates Code § 34.001 “is essentially a specialized form of venue transfer for matters relating to a probate proceeding pending in a probate court.”  Id. at 833.  The decision to grant the motion is thus interlocutory and the plaintiffs must wait until a final judgment before appealing the venue ruling.


The court recognized that mandamus relief is available when a court allegedly transfers a case to itself without statutory authority.  The court also noted that in some situations the court may treat an appeal as a petition for a writ of mandamus.  In this case, however, this option was not available because the appellants did not make a specific request that the appeal be treated as a mandamus petition.


Moral:  A party seeking relief when a court transfers a case improperly should be certain to request that its appeal be treated as a mandamus petition to invoke the appellate court’s original jurisdiction.