Search Results for: probate

Common Alternatives to Probate in Texas

When people hear talk of the probate process, they may cringe and have an idea that probating a will or going through an estate administration if someone dies intestate (without a will) should be avoided at any cost.  Fortunately for those of us who live in Texas, the probate process is not nearly as onerous as it may be in other states.  Thus, while there may be situations to seek out an alternative to the probate process, it is certainly not a goal that exists for every estate. … Read More →

What Happens if the Original Will Is Missing?

What happens when the original of a will goes missing and there is no evidence of what happened?  That was the issue recently addressed in In the estate of Myrtle Dell Brown. Background Myrtle Brown died in June 2018 at 93 years old.  She was not married and had no children.  The value of her estate was approximately $750,000. Ms. Eriks filed an application for probate of a copy of a will seeking to introduce a will dated October 1, 2009 that named the Humane Society as the sole… Read More →

June 9, 2023 Weekly Round Up

Happy June!  We’ve got plenty of ag law news to kick off the summer. *US Supreme Court rules for landowner in Sackett v. EPA, abandons “significant nexus test” for WOTUS.  I’ll have a lengthy blog post about this decision on Monday, but meanwhile, you can read a Q&A interview I did with Progressive Cattle about the decision and what it means for agriculture here. You can also listen to me and two of the best water law professors in the country break it down on my Ag Law in… Read More →

Ag Law in the Field Podcast: Episodes 141-150

Did you know that I host a podcast about agricultural law called Ag Law in the Field?  It’s a really fun project that allows me to introduce listeners to some of the best ag lawyers in the country. If you aren’t familiar with Ag Law in the Field or with podcasts in general, don’t panic.  This is simply another resource that I have available for you to learn more about agricultural law.  Each episode is audio-only, and I interview an ag lawyer about a specific topic.  The best… Read More →

May 5, 2023 Weekly Round Up

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We’re back with another ag law round up of news and articles from around the country. We’ve also got a photo of our newest addition born just yesterday from our place here in Texas. *Texas Supreme Court sides with royalty owner in post-production cost case.  The Texas Supreme Court recently sided with royalty owners in Devon v. Sheppard, a case challenging post production costs in the Eagle Ford Shale.  [Read Opinion here and Dissenting Opinion here.]  To read a good summary of the decision, click… Read More →

Texas Oil & Gas Law: When 1/2 of 1/8 Not Equal 1/16

The Texas Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in Van Dyke v. The Navigator Group, an interesting case involving the use of double fractions in historic oil and gas documents.  [Read Opinion here.]  As the Court noted to open its opinion, “Only in a legal context could the formula ‘one-half of one-eighth’ mean anything other than one-sixteenth.” Background In 1924, the Mulkeys conveyed their ranch and the underlying minerals to White & Tom with the following reservation: It is understood and agreed that one-half of one-eighth of all minerals… Read More →

What Happens When You Are Late Probating a Will?

When a widow was told by an attorney she did not need to probate her husband’s will, but learned 11 years later she should have done so, what happens?  This was the issue facing the Austin Court of Appeals in Castillo v. Castillo-Wall.  [Read Opinion here.] Applicable Law Section 256.003(a) of the Texas Estates Code provides:  “A will may not be admitted to probate after the fourth anniversary of the testator’s death unless it is show by proof that the applicant for the probate of the will was not… Read More →

Case Outlines Texas Requirements for Executing Valid Will

An opinion from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals last year is a great review of the legal requirements to execute a valid will in Texas. Background Pedro Vera passed away in August 2018.  In October 2018, his former neighbor, Mr. Sanchez, filed an application for probate of Mr. Vera’s holographic (handwritten) will.  Sanchez produced a holographic will purportedly drafted and signed by Mr. Vera on November 25, 2010, during a Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. Vera’s brother, Hector, contested the probate application, claiming that the signature on the holographic… Read More →

Goliad County Cattle Seized for Cruel Treatment Returned, Case Dismissed

A recent situation involving the immediate seizure of cattle in Goliad County brought a lot of attention to the laws regarding when livestock can be seized when allegations of animal cruelty have been made. Background  When Mr. Franke, an 81-year old Goliad County cattle rancher died, he left 100 head of cattle and a portion of land to the Padillas, a couple who had worked for Mr. Franke caring for his livestock for years.  Mr. Franke’s children challenged Mr. Franke’s will, arguing they should be entitled to the… Read More →

Case Addresses Requirements for Valid Codicil to Will

A recent Houston Court of Appeals (1st District) case, In re the Estate of Billy Joe Wlecyk, offers some important considerations to consider with regard to executing a will and codicil. Background Billy Joe Wleczyk died on January 30, 2018.  Two days later, his daughter, Sharon Reed,  filed an Application for Probate of Will and Letters Testamentary stating that Billy Joe resided in Brazoria County at the time of his death.  The Application further provided that he executed a will in 2001, which was ratified in July 2016, and… Read More →