Estate Administration


Garner v. Long, 106 S.W.3d 260 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003, no pet.).


The probate court approved the inventory of the decedent’s estate which listed certain property as the community property of the decedent and his predeceased spouse. Later, the executor of the decedent’s predeceased wife attempted to show that this property was actually the predeceased spouse’s separate property. The appellate court agreed with the executor that the probate court’s approval of the inventory did not conclusively determine the character of the property. However, the approval did act as prima facie evidence of the property’s character. The court examined the court’s approval and concluded that it was a final, appealable order. The executor of the predeceased spouse’s estate did not timely appeal this order and thus it is final, binding, and no longer contestable.

Moral: If a person is dissatisfied with the characterization of property listed on an estate inventory, a timely appeal of the court’s approval of the inventory should be filed.