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Can a Texas probate court grant relief on something that was not explicitly in the pleading?


In Texas, probate courts have the authority to grant relief on matters that are not explicitly stated in the pleadings. This means that if there is an issue that arises during the course of probate proceedings, the court can take action to address it. Texas law gives the court broad powers to do whatever is necessary to protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. This includes the power to make changes to the administration of the estate, to order sales of property, and to resolve disputes among heirs or beneficiaries. If you are involved in a probate proceeding in Texas, it is important to be aware of the court’s authority to grant relief on matters not explicitly stated in the pleadings. This allows you to be prepared for any potential issues that may arise during the course of the proceedings.

What is a Texas probate court?

A Texas probate court is a court with the authority to handle probate matters, including the administration of estates, trusts, and guardianships. The court has the power to appoint executors and trustees, oversee the distribution of assets, and resolve disputes among beneficiaries.

In addition to its probate responsibilities, a Texas probate court may also grant relief on matters that are not explicitly mentioned in the pleadings. For example, if there is evidence of fraud or duress in the execution of a will, the court may set aside the will and appoint a new executor. Similarly, if there is evidence that a beneficiary is not entitled to receive assets from an estate, the court can order those assets to be transferred to another party.

What is relief?

In Texas, a probate court may grant relief on something that was not explicitly in the pleading if the court finds that it is necessary to do so in order to protect the interests of the estate or the beneficiaries. This is known as “relief on other grounds.” For example, if a beneficiary is suing the estate for breach of contract, but the contract does not specifically mention probate, the court may still grant relief if it finds that it is necessary in order to protect the interests of the estate.

What are the different types of relief that a Texas probate court can grant?

A Texas probate court can grant several different types of relief, including but not limited to:

1. Granting or denying a will

2. Approving or denying an administrator

3. Determining heirship

4. Settling debts and distributing assets

5. Granting or denying a petition for probate

6. Granting or denying a petition for letters testamentary

7. Granting or denying a petition for letters of administration

What is an example of a case where the court has granted relief?

Sivley v. Sivley, 972 S.W.2d 850, 855 (Tex. App. — Tyler 1998, orig. proceeding)


A neutral party appointed by the court to manage assets

Ex parte:

When only one party communicates with the court

Facts and Procedural History

Brenda Sharlene Sivley was the former wife of Donald Wayne Sivley, Sr. (“Don, Sr.”). When Don, Sr. Passed away Brenda sought to recover a divorce judgment owed to her. When the two divorced, the marriage consisted of a Bingo company that was community property. Since the company was not readily divisible, the court awarded Brenda $200,000 judgment against Don, Sr. While he got to keep the company. The court put an equitable lien on the company in favor of Brenda making Don, Sr. Pay $500 per week until the judgment and post-judgment interest was paid off. He was also barred from selling or transferring the business until it was paid off. If he were to violate this, a receiver would be ordered. A receiver was appointed at a latter date after Don, Sr. Violated the court’s orders. Lane McDaniel was appointed receiver and was ordered to sell the property and pay the proceeds to Brenda in order to satisfy the judgment.

When Don, Sr. passed, he died intestate and $65,000 of the $200,000 judgment remained unpaid. The receiver and Brenda filed an application to appoint a suitable person as temporary administrator of his estate in the County Court of Rains, the same county Don, Sr. Died in.

Don, Sr.’s surviving wife Beverly Jean Sivley and Don, Sr.’s son, Donald Wayne Sivley, Jr. (“Don, Jr.”) Also filed an application requesting for the court to appoint them as temporary co-administrators of Don, Sr.’s estate.

The receiver filed a motion to the case to the District Court of Rains and the county court granted it. Don, Jr. withdrew his request to be co-administrator and instead asked that Beverly be the sole administrator. The parties later reached a settlement agreement which consisted of Don, Jr. transferring Brenda one of the Bingo parlors that was still running and Brenda and and the receiver would agree in the appointment of Beverly as administratrix.

Later on the receiver filed a motion to remove Beverly as administratrix alleging she breached their agreement. The court agreed that Don, Jr. had never preformed any of the agreement and ordered him to do so. Don, Jr. asserted that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction and had no right to enter into the judgment. He claimed that only probate matters could be brought to the court and that the judgment made was not a probate matter. The court found that it was a probate matter and that the court had subject matter jurisdiction. Don, Jr. also claimed that Brenda did not have pleadings on file requesting affirmative relief that was granted. However the court found that pleadings may be liberally construed to support the judgment. The application for an administrator proved there was an issue with the cooperation from Beverly and Don, Jr. This is proof that they were seeking relief for the judgment made by the divorce decree. Don, Jr. Then claimed that the court erred in the previous judgment since it was materially different that the agreement previously made. The court found that the later judgment superseded the previous agreement and that the judgment would stand.

Finally Brenda applied for a turnover order to force Don, Jr. to transfer the Bingo property to her. The trial court granted her request without notice to Don, Jr. or his attorneys. Don, Jr. appealed saying that an ex parte entry of a turnover order is an abuse of discretion. The court affirmed the trial court’s decision stating that the intent of the order is to aid in obtaining satisfaction on a previously rendered judgment. Since Brenda and the receiver had spent so much time and effort trying to obtain what was owed, the turnover order was appropriate.

Main Considerations

Can a court enter an ex parte turn over order?

Yes. A court can enter an ex parte turnover order that is satisfying a previously rendered judgment.

Can a court grant relief on something that was not explicitly in the pleading?

Yes. Pleadings can be liberally construed.


Sivley v. Sivley shows that a court can enter an ex parte turnover order and that a court can grant relief on something that is not explicitly in the pleading.


The probate court in Texas does have the authority to grant relief on something that was not explicitly in the pleading, as long as it is within the scope of what was originally requested. This allows for a certain amount of flexibility on the part of the court, and makes sure that all relevant issues are addressed. However, this does not mean that every request will be granted — only those that are deemed to be reasonable and within the scope of what was originally asked for.

Do you need to hire an Experienced Probate Attorney when contesting a Will in Texas?

When contesting a will in Texas, you may need to hire an experienced probate attorney to help you navigate the legal process. Probate court proceedings can be complex, and an experienced attorney can help you understand the relevant laws and regulations and build a strong case.

If you are considering contesting a will, it is important to consult with an experienced probate attorney to discuss your options and decide whether or not to proceed with the contest. An experienced attorney can help you understand the applicable laws, evaluate the strength of your case, and determine what relief may be available to you from the court.

How to respond to a summons?

If you have been served with a summons, it is important to take the time to understand what the document says and what it means for you. A summons is a legal document that notifies an individual that they are being sued or that they are required to appear in court. The summons will contain information on the court case, including the names of the parties involved and the specific charges.

It is important to note that a summons is not an order from the court. Rather, it is simply a notice that someone has filed a lawsuit against you or that you are required to appear in court. If you ignore a summons, you may be found in contempt of court, which can result in serious penalties.

If you have been served with a summons, the first step is to contact an attorney. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and can represent you in court. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to find free or low-cost legal assistance through your local legal aid office.

The second step is to file a response to the summons. In your response, you will need to state whether you agree or disagree with the claims made against you. If you agree with the claims, you can try to reach an agreement with the other party outside of court. However, if you do not agree with the claims, your case will go to trial.

Once you have filed your response, make sure to attend all scheduled court hearings.

How long does a civil lawsuit take in Texas?

It can sometimes take years for a civil lawsuit to work its way through the Texas court system. The length of time it takes for a case to be resolved depends on many factors, including the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, and the schedules of the judge and attorneys. In some cases, a trial may be set relatively quickly, while in others, it may take months or even years to get to that point. The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long a civil lawsuit will take in Texas.

What is rule 92 of the Texas rules of civil procedure?

Rule 92. General Denial (1985)

A general denial of matters pleaded by the adverse party which are not required to be denied under oath, shall be sufficient to put the same in issue.

How to respond to contempt of court in Texas?

If you are served with a contempt of court order in Texas, you have the right to respond. You should first determine if the order was issued by a criminal or civil court. If the order was issued by a criminal court, you may be facing punishment for violating a court order, which could include fines or jail time. If the order was issued by a civil court, you may be required to take action to comply with the court’s order or show cause as to why you should not be held in contempt.

If you choose to respond to the contempt of court order, you will need to file a written response with the court. In your response, you should explain why you believe you are not in contempt of court. You may also want to seek legal assistance before responding to a contempt of court order, as this can be a complex legal matter.

How do you write a response to the court in Texas?

If you want to respond to the court in Texas, you must first file a written answer with the court. This answer must be filed within 21 days after the date the petition was served on you, unless the court extends this time period. The answer must state whether you agree or disagree with each allegation in the petition. If you do not agree with an allegation, you must explain why. You may also raise any defenses you have to the relief requested in the petition.

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