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Court Held That Estate Beneficiary Was Not Entitled to Jury Trial on Ratification of Attorney’s Fees Agreement

Court Held That Estate Beneficiary Was Not Entitled to Jury Trial on Ratification of Attorney’s Fees Agreement
Sunday, May 26, 2024
Related Practices & Jurisdictions
Texas |

In In re Est. of Ellard, a court ratified an executor signing a contingency fee agreement that was over 35% under section 351.152 of the Estates Code. No. 05-22-01149-CV, 2024 Tex. App. LEXIS 483 (Tex. App.—Dallas January 25, 2024, no pet.). The estate beneficiary contested that agreement and requested a jury trial. Citing the Poe opinion, the court held that “A court handling a dependent administration exercises control over the personal representative and estate that is at least as extensive as the control it has over a receiver and receivership property, and the court also exercises substantial control over certain aspects of an independent administration, including various aspects set forth in chapter 351.” The court held: “It is readily apparent that the statute requiring court approval for a contingent interest in property that exceeds a one-third interest in the property is a proceeding that does not have any of the attributes of a cause for which a Judicial Article jury-trial right exists. In this proceeding, there is no plaintiff seeking a right of recovery or a judgment against a defendant who has committed some wrong. It is an administrative matter.” Id.

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