In re Jacky, 506 S.W.3d 550 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2016, no pet.).

Estate Administration

Muniment of Title


The probate court admitted the testator’s will to probate as a muniment of title. After 3.5 years elapsed, the court reopened the estate and appointed an independent executor so the executor could pursue potential claims due to the testator’s estate. A writ of mandamus was sought on the basis that the order admitting the will to probate as a muniment of title was a final order and thus the court lacked plenary power to reopen the estate.


The appellate court conditionally granted mandamus stating that the probate court’s order was void as its plenary power had already expired. The court explained that the muniment of title order was final and that the two year period to file a bill of review under Estates Code § 55.251 elapsed prior to the probate court’s appointment of an executor. The court rejected the argument that the estate did not actually close because of the potential claim because to accept that proposition would mean “no estate in which a will is admitted to probate as a muniment of title could ever close because there always exists the possibility that an unknown claim needing administration might remain and might not come to light until later.”


Moral:  A person unhappy with a court admitting a will to probate as a muniment of title must either timely appeal or file a bill of review if the person wishes to have a personal representative appointed to administer the estate.