In re McDonald, 424 S.W.3d 774 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2014, orig. proceeding [mand. denied]).


Estate Administration

Interested Person


Father claimed that he had standing to participate in the probate proceedings for his deceased Son as an “interested person” under Estates Code § 22.018 based on (1) his status as a creditor because he paid for Son’s funeral expenses and (2) his interest in the welfare of his minor grandson who was born as a result of a relationship between Son and a woman who may or may not be Son’s wife.  The trial court determined that Father was not an interested person.  Father then sought mandamus relief.


The appellate court determined that the trial court abused its discretion and thus conditionally granted a writ of mandamus.  The court explained that the evidence clearly showed that Father paid for many expenses associated with Son’s funeral and thus Father is a creditor who has standing under the plain language of the Estates Code.  The court also held that Father had standing in both the administration and heirship proceedings because the alleged wife decided to combine them in the same cause.


The alleged wife claimed that since she had deposited funds with the registry of the court which would cover Father’s claim that Father was no longer an interested person.  The court rejected this argument because once an administrator is appointed, he or she could dispute Father’s claim and refuse to pay it.


The court also reviewed Father’s claim that he had standing because of being interested in the welfare of his son.  After reviewing the evidence, such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services order placing Son in Father’s custody, the court determined that Father had standing in this role as well.


Likewise, the court determined that it was improper for the trial court to deny Father a jury trial became he timely filed a written demand for a jury trial and paid the jury fee.


Moral:  A creditor of an estate, as well as a person interested in the welfare of minor who is potentially an heir, has standing to participate in estate proceedings.