Estate of Pandozy, 634 S.W.3d 288 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2021, no pet. h.).


Common-Law Spouse

After the court determined that the intestate’s three children were his sole heirs, an alleged common-law spouse intervened. The trial court rendered a directed verdict against her and determined that she lacked standing to participate in the probate proceedings. She then refused to return property belonging to the intestate’s estate and filed a pro se motion for sanctions and damages. The independent executor filed for sanctions and successfully had her declared a vexatious litigant.


On appeal, the court agreed that the alleged common-law spouse was a vexatious litigant because (1) the independent executor demonstrated that there was no reasonable probability that she could prevail and (2) she had commenced five pro se actions in the past seven years that were determined against her. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 11.054.


Moral:  An alleged common-law spouse who fails to demonstrate that status and wishes to pursue the matter should hire legal counsel to file a reasonable appeal.