Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Estate of Daniels

Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana

April 11, 2019

IN THE ESTATE OF TERRANCE STEPHEN DANIELS, DECEASED

          Submitted: January 23, 2019

          On Appeal from the County Court Morris County, Texas Trial Court No. 5531

          Before Morriss, C.J., Burgess and Stevens, JJ.

          OPINION

          RALPH K. BURGESS JUSTICE

         After Terrance Daniels' death, his widow, LaStarza Luckey Daniels, and a group of his other heirs filed competing applications for independent administration of his estate. After the homestead property was set aside and the temporary administrator conveyed the interests in the property to LaStarza and the heirs, LaStarza moved to dismiss the heirs and their pleadings for lack of standing. The trial court granted the motion.

         On appeal, the heirs contend that the trial court erred in granting LaStarza's motion to dismiss because they have standing as interested persons. We reverse the trial court's order and remand the case for further proceedings because the heirs are interested persons with standing.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Terrance Daniels died intestate and without children. In the County Court of Morris County, Texas, LaStarza filed an application to determine heirship and an application for independent administration of Terrance's estate in which she sought to be appointed as administrator. Terrance's mother, Jeannette Daniels, brother, Wesley D. Daniels, and sister, Anita Rhodes, (the Heirs) filed a competing application for independent administration in which they opposed LaStarza's appointment as administrator and sought to have either Jeannette appointed as administrator or Jeannette, Wesley, and Anita appointed as co-administrators. The competing applications were assigned to a statutory probate judge, [1] the Honorable Oswin Chrisman, while the heirship application was heard by the county court.

         The county court held that Terrance was survived by his spouse, LaStarza, his mother, Jeannette, his brother, Wesley, his sister, Anita, his two half-brothers, Derrick Brown and Dwayne Daniels, and one half-sister, Shana Brown.[2] The property in Terrance's estate consisted of various community property, separate personal property, and separate real property. The court held that, under the laws of descent and distribution, LaStarza was entitled to all of the community property, all of the separate personal property, and one-half of the separate real property, which consisted of a house and lot in Naples, Morris County, Texas, which was the couple's residence and homestead. The remaining one-half interest in the separate real property was to be distributed to the remaining heirs as follows: one-fourth to Jeannette, one-fourteenth each to Wesley and Anita, and one-twenty-eighth each to Dwayne, Derrick, and Shana.[3]

         Judge Chrisman set the contested applications for jury trial and appointed LaStarza as temporary administrator until the contested issues were resolved. LaStarza filed an application to set aside the separate real property, the homestead, as property exempt from the estate administration. After an estate inventory, appraisement, and a list of claims were filed and approved, the trial court, over the Heirs' objection, granted LaStarza's application to set aside the homestead for LaStarza's lifetime use. As per the court's order, LaStarza, as temporary administrator, conveyed legal title to the homestead to herself, in her personal capacity, and all of Terrance's heirs in the shares previously determined by the county court.

         About a month prior to trial, LaStarza moved to dismiss "all pleadings, claims and oppositions" of the Heirs because they lacked standing. In the motion, LaStarza argued that, because the homestead property had been removed from the estate administration and the Heirs had already received the only estate property to which they were entitled, they were no longer heirs with a "property right in or claim against an estate being administered." The Heirs filed a response opposing the motion. After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion, dismissed the Heirs' pleadings, and named LaStarza as administrator. The Heirs appeal.

         II. Issue Presented-Do the Heirs Have Standing?

         In their sole point of error on appeal, the Heirs contend that the trial court erred in granting LaStarza's motion to dismiss because, as Terrance's heirs, they are "interested persons" under the Texas Estates Code and therefore have standing.

         A. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.