Celebrating 125 Years

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013

Jackson Walker Wins Appellate Victory in Probate Case of First Impression

Jackson Walker L.L.P. secured a victory for its client, Lonnie Jones, in a matter of first impression before the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh District of Texas in Eastland.

The case involved whether an independent executor – in this case, Mr. Jones – could be considered the proper party to a will contest after having been discharged by a court under Section 149E of the Texas Probate Code. After fulfilling his duties as executor of the estate of James Bailey Whittington, Mr. Jones filed an application for judicial discharge pursuant to Section 149E that was granted on May 10, 2010. Subsequent to Mr. Jones' release, an application to contest the will was filed that named Mr. Jones as a party.

The trial court granted Mr. Jones' motion to be dismissed as a party to the will contest, and on June 27, 2013, Appeals Court Justice Terry McCall issued an Opinion affirming the trial court's order. In the Opinion, Mr. McCall stated: "A fair reading of Section 149E demonstrates that it is unambiguous in providing an independent executor a method to be discharged from further service and duty as a fiduciary."

The case was a matter of first impression regarding Section 149E, a relatively new section of the Texas Probate Code that went into effect on Sept. 1, 1999.

Jackson Walker attorney Colin Murchison represented Mr. Jones in the trial and appellate court proceedings. Mr. Murchison is a member of the firm's Wealth Planning, Probate, and Trusts practice group, which has an in-depth understanding and extensive expertise in Texas estate and probate matters.


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