On Friday, October 22, 2010, the Houston Chronicle published a front-page article regarding its perceived abuses and misuses of the Probate Courts by the Judges who preside over those courts and by the attorneys who practice in them. This article is a follow-up article to a two-part series that the Chronicle ran in the summer of 2008 on the same topics. In the article, the author cites to various statistics regarding fees that have been approved by the Probate Courts in Harris County and casts stones upon both the Judges and the attorneys who practice in these courts.
The Chronicle seems to take the opinion that the Harris County Probate Courts must be corrupt because the judges in those Courts approve attorneys’ fees for the attorneys who practice in those Courts. What the article does not tell you is that the Probate Code requires that attorneys in many probate cases and in all guardianship cases submit their fees to the Court for approval. The article also does not tell you that the Probate Courts are virtually the only Courts in the state of Texas where attorneys are required to submit their fees for approval to the Court in even the most basic and routine cases.
In an effort to shed some light on the allegations made by the Chronicle, I am going to post a short series of a couple of blog posts regarding the issue of the attorneys’ fees charged in the Probate Courts and the allegations that are raised by the Chronicle. I hope that you find the series helpful and informative.