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Texas Probate Court

What is Probate Court?

A Probate Court in Texas is a court created by the Texas legislature with exclusive jurisdiction in a designated county over matters relating to wills, estates of deceased individuals, guardianship of estates (that is, the assets) of minors and adults who have legal disabilities, and guardianship of the persons of minors and adults who have legal disabilities.  Probate courts are chiefly limited to counties having large populations.  In smaller counties, county courts may have concurrent jurisdiction over these probate matters, as well as other non-probate matters permitted by the Texas legislature.

Texas Probate Court Jurisdictions

The Texas Constitution grants the Legislature the authority to determine which Texas courts have jurisdiction over probate matters. The Statutory Probate Courts of Texas are located in 10 out of the state's 15 largest metropolitan areas and have original and exclusive jurisdiction over their counties' probate matters, guardianship cases, and mental health commitments. In most counties, the constitutional county court has original probate jurisdiction. In some counties, the Legislature has authorized certain statutorily created county courts to share this original jurisdiction, so that a county court at law will have concurrent jurisdiction over probate matters with the constitutional county court.

The original probate jurisdiction of district courts is limited to those situations in which a contested probate matter is transferred from a constitutional county court and when the Legislature has granted the district court original control and jurisdiction over personal representatives. In the more populated counties, the Legislature has created specialized probate courts (entitled statutory probate courts) to hear probate matters exclusively.

Thus, depending on the jurisdictional grant by the Legislature, probate matters might be heard in the county court, county court at law, statutory probate court, or district court of a particular county.


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