Estate Administration


Delinquent Property Taxes

Andrews v. Aldine Independent School District, 116 S.W.3d 407 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, pet. denied).


School District filed a probate claim for delinquent ad valorem taxes in a dependent administration. Executor took no action for six months. School District then posted the properties for foreclosure sale. Executor claimed that School District’s claims were barred by limitation because School District did not file suit within 90 days after its claim was rejected by operation of law under Probate Code §§ 310 & 313. The trial court rejected this argument and Executor appealed.

The appellate court reversed. The court reviewed Probate Code § 5C governing actions to collect delinquent property taxes. Because School District presented a claim against the estate, it was subject to the rules governing the enforcement of claims in probate proceedings under § 5C(d)(1). Accordingly, because Executor took no action on School District’s claim, it was deemed rejected after 30 days under § 310. School District then had 90 days to bring suit under § 313. Because School District failed to do so, School District’s claim was barred. The court rejected a variety of School District’s arguments including that § 5C was unconstitutional under Article VIII, § 10 as an impermissible legislative act releasing a citizen from the payment of county taxes.

Moral: A taxing entity attempting to collect delinquent ad valorem taxes which elects to file a claim in probate court in a dependent administration should timely bring suit if the claim is rejected, either expressly or by operation of law.