Multiple Appeals in the Same Case
In most areas of Texas law, a general rule applies that no appeal can be made until after the final judgment has been rendered. As a consequence of this rule, there is only one opportunity to appeal most cases. However, probate and guardianship appeals are completely unique in that an appeal can be taken from numerous different types of orders in these cases. Said another way, a party could have numerous appeals in either a probate or guardianship litigation case.
The Texas Supreme Court has determined that probate and guardianships are unique, which requires the ability to appeal from multiple orders. However, not all orders in a probate or guardianship case can be appealed. The Supreme Court has adopted a test for determining whether an order can be appealed. In essence, the Court has said that probate and guardianship orders can be appealed if the order concludes a discreet phase of the probate or guardianship case. For instance, when someone dies without a Will, one aspect of the probate case is going to involve the Court determining the identity of the deceased person’s heirs. In doing so, the Court will issue a Judgment declaring those heirs, and because the judgment resolves a particular phase of the probate case, the Supreme Court’s test would determine that the Judgment is appealable. By contrast, if the beneficiary of a probate estate simply asked the executor of the estate to provide an accounting of the estate’s assets, the appellate courts have determined that the Order requiring the accounting does not resolve anything and is therefore not appealable.
Because appeals in probate and guardianship cases are so unique, both clients and lawyers considering filing an appeal should seek competent counsel from attorneys who routinely handle these appeals. The attorneys at Ford + Bergner LLP have handled countless appeals all across Texas in a variety of cases, and we would be happy to discuss the appeal of your case with you. Email us today or call 713-352-0937 if you find yourself dealing with such a matter.