Estate of Daniels, No. 06-18-00049-CV, 2019 WL 1560832 (Tex. App.—Texarkana Apr. 11, 2019, no pet. h.).

Estate Administration



After Intestate died, a heated dispute arose over whether Surviving Spouse or Mother should serve as the independent administrator. After the court determined heirship and Surviving Spouse as the temporary administrator distributed all estate property to the heirs, Surviving Spouse moved to dismiss all actions of the other heirs on the ground that they lacked standing as they no longer had a property right in or claim against Intestate’s estate. The trial court granted the motion.


On appeal, the appellate court reversed. The court carefully read the applicable Estates Codes provisions:


Accordingly, it was undisputed that originally, Mother and the other heirs had standing. The court rejected the claim that when they lost a pecuniary interest in the estate that they lost standing. The court explained that the language in § 22.108 that includes a person who has a “property right in” or a “claim against” does not restrict the standing of the other individuals listed in the definition such as heirs and devisees. The definition is in the disjunctive; the statute uses the word “or” between the named categories of interested persons. Thus, the listed individuals do not need to have a pecuniary interest in the estate to have standing.


Moral:  A decedent’s spouse, heirs, and devisees have standing regardless of whether they have a pecuniary interest in the decedent’s estate.