Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, 583 S.W.3d 757 (Tex. App.—Austin 2019, pet. denied).

Estate Administration

Temporary Administration

The testator’s will was admitted to probate as a muniment of title. Subsequently, tort actions were filed against the testator’s estate. In addition, an unhappy heir filed a will contest along with a request for the appointment of a temporary administrator. The court granted the request. Later, the court approved the temporary administrator’s settlement of the tort claims over the objection of one claimant who appealed.


The objecting tort claimant asserted that the court’s appointment of a temporary administrator was void for want of jurisdiction and thus the approval of the settlement was likewise void. The appellate court rejected this argument. The court explained that an interested person may contest a will within two years after it is admitted to probate under Estates Code § 256.204. The testator’s will was contested timely. Thus, the court had authority under Estates Code § 452.051 to appoint a temporary administrator to serve while the will contest is pending.


Moral:  The probating of a will as a muniment of title does not preclude a will contest within two years of probate and the appointment of a temporary administration to serve while the contest is pending.