Goepp v. Comerica Bank & Trust, N.A., No. 03-19-00485, 2021 WL 2878562 (Tex. App.—Austin July 9, 2021, no pet. h.).



Trustee sought to settle the final trust accounting and receive an order that Trustee has no liability for its administration of the trust. One of the beneficiaries filed a plea to the jurisdiction which the trial court rejected and then made various findings favoring Trustee.


On appeal, the court held that the trial court had jurisdiction. Although it is true that a district court has original and exclusive jurisdiction of trusts, there is an exception for statutory probate courts. Prop. Code § 115.001. Thus, the trial court had jurisdiction. Next, the beneficiary claimed that the trust contains an Illinois choice-of-law provision. The court explained that this type of provision cannot prevent a Texas court from exercising jurisdiction. Finally, the court rejected the beneficiary’s claim that because an Illinois court had previously heard the case, it had dominant jurisdiction over the case. Even if her claim could be construed as a motion to stay based on comity, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by hearing the case.


Moral:  It is difficult to show that a proper Texas court lacks jurisdiction.