Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
Submitted on July 1, 2019
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 Jefferson County,
Texas Trial Cause No. 109304
McKeithen, C.J., Horton and Johnson, JJ.
appeal arises from a dispute involving the administration of
an estate. In her brief, Margy Rand, the independent executor
of the Estate of Donna Fells, raises two issues that complain
about the trial court's November 2017 order releasing
funds trapped in the registry of the court. The funds came
from the proceeds of a sale of real property, which was owned
in common by the Estate, Daniel Fells, Jr., and Daniel's
first issue, Rand argues the trial court no longer possessed
plenary power over the funds when the court distributed them
to Daniel. In issue two, Rand argues the trial court's
order distributing the funds is void because the funds in the
court's registry belonged to the Estate. We affirm.
Fells died in 2013. After Donna died, Daniel, Donna's
stepson, sued Rand in her capacity as the executor of
Donna's estate and asked the trial court to partition a
parcel of real property that he and his wife owned in common
with the Estate. Daniel also sued Rand to collect what he
claimed represented his share of the rents the Estate
collected from tenants who were renting a building on the
property. Finally, Daniel sued the Estate for the taxes he
paid on the property, which he claimed should have been paid
by the Estate.
a bench trial in May 2016, the trial court resolved the
parties' claims. The judgment the court issued following
the trial includes language of finality. No one appealed from
the trial court's October 2016 final judgment.
judgment, the trial court found the property the parties
owned in common could not be divided and ordered the property
sold. The judgment also gave Daniel relief on some of his
other claims. Daniel was awarded $52, 200 for his share of
the rents the court found the Estate owed him. The judgment
also awards Daniel $2, 078, the amount Daniel claimed he paid
in taxes on behalf of the Estate.
judgment set out how any money resulting from the future,
court-ordered sale would be divided. The judgment provides:
[T]he net proceeds from the sale shall be divided as follows:
First, [Daniel] shall receive 75% of the net proceeds;
Second, the remaining 25% of the net proceeds, allocated as
[the Estate's] share, shall be deposited into the
registry of the court for further distribution by the Court.
relevant to the issues in this appeal, the judgment provides
that Daniel would be paid first from the proceeds of the
future, court-ordered sale. It did so, as follows:
If the sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay these items,
it is further ORDERED that [Daniel] have judgment against the
[Estate] . . . for the balance due [Daniel].
year after the trial court ordered the property to be sold,
the sale occurred. The proceeds from the sale, less expenses,
were $87, 850. As directed by the judgment, the title company
handling the sale deposited the Estate's share of the
proceeds, $21, 851, into the registry of the court. Within a
month, Rand moved to release the funds. Daniel objected,
arguing that based on the judgment, he was entitled to be
paid first from the funds.
November 2017, the trial court conducted an evidentiary
hearing on the Estate's motion. At the conclusion of the
hearing, the court issued an order denying the motion. In the
same order, the court disbursed $21, 851 (the Estate's
share of the funds trapped from the court-ordered sale) to
Daniel. The Estate appealed from the order ...