In Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, the decedent’s attorney probated a holographic will as a muniment of title. No. 03-17-00865-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2145 (Tex. App.—Austin March 20, 2019, no pet.). A claimant then asserted a claim that the decedent sexually abused him. The tort claimant and the decedent’s sister filed will contests. The court signed an order appointing a temporary administrator and then signed a subsequent order authorizing the administrator to settle the tort claimant’s claims. The party who would take under the will alleged that the order appointing the temporary administrator and approving the settlement were void. The court of appeals disagreed, holding that the orders were not void because the decedent’s sister and the tort claimant filed the will contests well within the two-year deadline under Texas Estates Code Section 256.204(a), no representative of the estate existed at the time as it was a muniment of title, and the trial court appointed the temporary administrator pursuant to its authority under Texas Estates Code Ann. Section 452.051(a). The court of appeals noted that the Estates Code provides at least two mechanisms for challenging a probate court’s order: a bill of review and a will contest. “Section 256.204, therefore, allows for the filing of a will contest within two years of the date the will was admitted to probate. It is undisputed that both Chabot and the Tort Claimants filed timely will contests.” Id. The court concluded:
Chabot and the Tort Claimants filed will contests well within the two-year deadline. See Tex. Estates Code § 256.204(a). No representative of Sullivan’s estate existed at the time, and the trial court appointed Deadman as temporary administrator pursuant to its authority under Section 452.051. See id. § 452.051(a). Chabot has not cited any authority prohibiting the trial court’s actions, and we are not aware of any. We therefore hold that the trial court’s order appointing Deadman was not void ab initio and that the court’s subsequent order authorizing Deadman to settle the Tort Claimants’ suits was not void on that ground.