In re Davidson, 485 S.W.3d 927 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2016, no pet.).

Estate Administration



After Decedent’s death but prior to being appointed, Executor sued Decedent’s Debtor who was in default on a real estate lien note in Anderson County. Shortly thereafter, Executor was successful in obtaining an order in Anderson County admitting the will to probate and appointing him as the executor although Decedent was domiciled in San Augustine County at the time of his death. Debtor filed a motion to transfer the probate proceeding to San Augustine County. The court refused and Debtor sought mandamus.


The appellate court denied mandamus relief. The court acknowledged that mandatory venue was in San Augustine County, Decedent’s domicile at death. Estates Code § 33.001(1). However, only an “interested person” has standing to request a transfer of venue. Estates Code § 33.102(a). The court held that Debtor was not an interested person as defined by Estates Code § 22.018(1). First, Debtor was not a creditor of the estate; Debtor owed money to the estate rather than being entitled to money from the estate. Second, Debtor’s claim that Executor violated the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act by filing in the wrong county did not make her a creditor of Decedent’s estate but instead, merely a potential creditor of the Executor. Thus, the court denied mandamus and held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Debtor’s motion to transfer venue.


Moral:  An estate debtor lacks standing to request a court to transfer a probate proceeding from a county of improper venue to a county of proper venue.