Appeal from the Probate Court No. 2 Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 469, 115
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Goodman and
Paul Chevriere filed an application to probate the will of
his deceased stepmother but the trial court dismissed the
application for lack of jurisdiction. On appeal, Chevriere
contends that the trial court had jurisdiction and therefore
erred in dismissing his application. We agree and therefore
reverse and remand.
filed his application in Probate Court Number 2 of Harris
County, alleging that his deceased stepmother's fixed
place of residence was in that county. His sister, Rose Marie
Lorraine Chevriere Mitchell filed a motion to transfer venue
to Fort Bend County, alleging that her deceased
stepmother's fixed place of residence was there. Subject
to her motion to transfer venue, Mitchell filed an opposition
to her brother's probate application.
deciding Mitchell's venue motion, the trial court
concluded that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. On its
own motion, the court dismissed Chevriere's application
for lack of jurisdiction.
Standard of review and applicable law
jurisdiction is essential to a court's authority to
decide a case. Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Ctrl.
Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 443 (Tex. 1993). It cannot be
presumed or waived. Id. at 443-44. Trial courts may
inquire as to whether they have subject-matter jurisdiction
on their own motion at any time. James v. Underwood,
438 S.W.3d 704, 713 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no
reviews the pleadings and any relevant evidence in deciding
whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction. Bush v. Lone
Oak Club, 546 S.W.3d 766, 772 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st.
Dist.] 2018, pet. pending). When the jurisdictional facts are
undisputed, the existence of subject-matter jurisdiction is a
question of law. Tex. Dep't of Parks & Wildlife
v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004). Under these
circumstances, we review the trial court's jurisdictional
decision de novo. Id.
County's statutory probate court has subject-matter
jurisdiction over probate proceedings. Tex. Est. Code
§§ 32.002(c), 32.005(a); In re Jacky, 506
S.W.3d 550, 554 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2016, no
pet.). Probate proceedings encompass applications to probate
a will and for the issuance of letters testamentary. Tex.
Est. Code § 31.001(1)-(2); Jacky, 506 S.W.3d at