Appealing a probate decision is, in many ways, very different from appealing decisions in ordinary civil cases. In most civil cases, there is generally only one order or judgment of the court that is subject to appeal. In probate and guardianships, however, there are numerous orders and judgments that are subject to review by the appeals court.
In the 10 largest counties in Texas, we have specialized probate courts, which generally have judges with specialized training in probate. The specialized nature of these judges helps to ensure that their rulings are generally more well-reasoned and less likely to be overturned by the appellate court. In the other 244 counties in Texas, the judges are not specialists in probate and guardianships. As a result, they more often make mistakes that might lead to review by the Court of appeals.
In cases of unfavorable rulings, or worse, incorrect applications of probate law, you have the right to appeal it. However, it is always important to remember that the filing period is short. In many cases, an appeal must be filed within 20 days after the judgement was signed. Failure to file within the time limit means your case may be dismissed. From here, several factors will be key in your success including the issues presented during the original probate hearing, the nature of the testimony, and the evidence presented during the trial. However, in many cases, victory may depend on the outcomes of prior appeals on similar issues.
The ultimate tool for success, however, is to hire an attorney that can represent you to the best of their abilities. Ford + Bergner LLP has a whole team of appellate lawyers who handle appeals of probate and guardianship cases. This team is lead by a senior attorney who is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law and has been involved in numerous appeals of probate and guardianship cases. If you have a probate or guardianship to challenge, will contest, probate administration contest, removal action, surcharge action, or trust dispute that you need help with, contact us today so we can help you get the best possible outcome.