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Appellate Issues In Probate, Guardianship and Trust Cases

When considering whether to appeal a decision in a probate, guardianship, or trust case, it is important to consider both the procedural requirements in the Estates Code as well as the general evidentiary requirements involved in any appeal.

For instance, the Estates Code contains some very specific rules for how probate, guardianship, and trust cases are handled.  These rules include the duties required of fiduciaries in these cases.  In handling an appeal of a decision in one of these cases, you must first look to these rules to see if they were applied correctly.

As a next step, you must look to the evidence that was presented at trial and the legal arguments that were made.  An appellate court is going to review the evidence to see if there was enough evidence of a particular point to justify the judgment.  Likewise, the appellate court will look to the legal determinations that the trial court made to see if the court applied the law correctly.

Frequently, appeals in this area relate to improper removals of an executor, guardian, or trustee.  The appeals may also relate to cases where a fiduciary was assessed damages for having failed to fulfill their duties correctly.  Likewise, appeals may involve cases where a creditor is unhappy with the amount they received from the estate.  In each of these instances, a solid understanding of the probate, guardianship, and trust laws is important in either pursuing or defending these appeals.