This Week in Appeals – Ford & Mathiason Wins Again

Case: Courtney Guyton vs. Cynthia Monteau
Court: Fourteenth Court of Appeals – Houston

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals this week has ruled in F&M’s favor involving the ability of a probate court to appoint a third party administrator over the application of a beneficiary of the estate.

F&M appealed the denial of their client’s application to be appointed as the Successor Administrator of her father’s estate. After a hearing on the merits in which only one objection to her appointment was raised, the court denied the Applicant’s appointment based on a perceived conflict amongst the parties.

The trial court admitted that the only objection raised by the parties was not sufficient to disqualify the Applicant from serving. However after the opponent’s counsel requested the court to take judicial notice of the entire file, the Court ruled that it was appointing an independent third party as administrator.

The Court of Appeals overruled, noting that the burden of proof rests on those opposing an applicant’s appointment. Because none of the reasons given by the trial court for its decision was asserted by any interested party, the Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge abused his discretion by denying the Applicant’s appointment and appointing a third party. The case was remanded to the trial court with instructions to grant the application and appoint Courtney Guyton as Administrator.

What does all of this mean for you? If you feel you’ve been wrongly denied an appointment, call us today and schedule an appointment to discuss your matter. Even where a Judge has ruled against you there may still be options available, but the timelines are short so do not delay.