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Can a Court Add Probate Proceedings to a Muniment of Title?

Legal Terminology

Muniment of Title/Deed:

Means there is no need for administration of the estate. This allows for a will to be probated quickly and cost-efficiently.

Administration of an Estate:

Allows for the management of the liabilities and assets of a deceased person.

Probate Case

In re Estate of Kurtz, 54 S.W.3d 353 (Tex. App. 2001)

Facts & Procedural History: Hearing, Application for Texas Will

Mary A. Osborne (Proponent) filed an application to probate her mother’s will in the McLennan County Court (County Court) as a muniment of title. Henrietta Augusta Kurtz (Decedent) named her five children as the beneficiaries of her estate. The five children were given equal shares and were jointly named as independent executors. Later that year, another child of Decedent, Adolf Kurtz (Contestant), responded to Proponent’s application and requested that its hearing be postponed. The probate court decided to proceed and admitted the will to probate as a muniment of title. Contestant then filed an amended motion (seeking several items including a declaratory judgment of the estate and a constructive trust). The probate court transferred the case to the County Court primarily to rule on the hearing. Proponent filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction, which the County Court granted. The County Court held that in a muniment of title actions, the court only had jurisdiction to admit the will to probate and approve the inventory, not to provide relief.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the County Court’s judgment on the will. The Court stated that, once the will was admitted to probate, the proper course of action would have been for Contestant to appeal to the Court of Appeals (rather than waiting until after the case had been transferred and dismissed within the County Court). The County Court only had jurisdiction to hear matters pertaining to the estate. Since no administration of the estate or issuance of letters testamentary to the estate had occurred here, there was no estate. Therefore, the County Court’s jurisdiction had ended once the order admitting the will to probate as a muniment of title had been finalized.

Main Considerations: Order Admitting Will?

When may a court probate a will as a muniment of title?

In cases where the court finds that either: (1) the will should be admitted to probate and no unpaid debts of the estate exist (other than debts secured by real property; or (2) the court determines that, for other reasons, there is no need for an administration of the estate.

What is the purpose of this form of probate?

By placing the will on public record, it provides continuity in the chain of title to estate properties.

The Takeaway

Estate of Kurtz shows that, once a will has been admitted to probate as a muniment of title, the proper course of action is for a contestant to appeal to a court of appeals.

Do you need an Experienced Attorney to help with a testate or an intestate probate matter?

If you are the named executor of an estate and you need to take legal action to establish your right to ownership of the estate’s assets, you may want to consider hiring an experienced attorney. Call Kreig LLC today for a FREE attorney consultation. (469) 895-4333.

Related Questions

What is the process of muniment of title in Texas?

The process of muniment of title in Texas is a legal document that is filed with the county courthouse to create a public record of the property that is being transferred. The muniment of title typically includes the date of the transfer, the name of the transferring party, and a list of any outstanding mortgages or other liens against the property.

How much does a muniment of title cost in Texas?

The cost of a muniment of title in Texas can range up to $3,000, depending on the size and complexity of the document. The cost of a muniment of title is usually paid by the person or entity who needs the document certified.

Can you transfer property without probate in Texas?

In Texas, probate is not a required step in the transfer of property. This means that you can transfer property without going through probate if the property is owned by someone who died with a will, or if the property is owned by someone who was declared incompetent to make a will. If the property is owned by someone who died without a will, or if the person who owns the property is considered to be incompetent to make a will, then the court must order probate proceedings to be conducted.

How do you probate a will as a muniment of title in Texas?

If you are the executor of a will, you may probate the will as a muniment of title in Texas. To probate a will, you must file a petition with the court and serve notice of your intent to probate on all interested persons. The court may then appoint an examiner to examine the property listed in the will and make an inventory of it. If any person contests the probate, the court may hold a hearing to determine whether the will is valid.

What does muniment of title mean?

A muniment of title is a document that formally states the ownership of real estate or other property by a person. In some cases, it also serves as an official record of the transfer of ownership. A court may add probate proceedings to a muniment of title if it determines that such proceedings are necessary in order to complete the transfer of ownership to the correct person.

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