Estate Administration

Survival Action


Lorentz v. Dunn, 112 S.W.3d 176 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003), rev'd, 171 S.W.3d 854 (Tex. 2005).


Click here for a summary of the reversal by the Supreme Court of Texas.


Days before the statute of limitations was to run on Decedent’s negligence claim, Administrator filed to be appointed as Decedent’s personal representative. Before being appointed, Administrator filed a survival action falsely stating that she had already been properly appointed by the court. Administrator was later appointed but by that time, the statute of limitations had already run. The trial court dismissed the survival action because Administrator did not have standing when she filed the case.

The appellate court affirmed. Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.021 provides standing for survival actions to the personal representative and, in some case, an heir. Administrator was not an heir and had not yet been appointed either at the time she filed the survival action or when the statute of limitations had run. The court indicated that her standing once being appointed did not relate back to the time of filing.

Moral: A person anticipating bringing a survival action must be appointed as the personal representative prior to filing suit.