In In re Estate of Daniels, after the decedent’s death, his wife and his other heirs filed competing applications for independent administration of his estate. No. 06-18-00049-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2905 (Tex. App.—Texarkana April 11, 2019). After the homestead property was set aside and the temporary administrator conveyed the interests in that property to the wife and the heirs, the wife moved to dismiss the heirs and their pleadings for lack of standing because they no longer had a financial interest in the estate. The trial court granted the motion, and the heirs appealed.
The court of appeals held that because Texas Estate Code Section 22.018 defines “interested person” in the disjunctive; one is an interested person if they are an “heir, devisee, spouse, [or] creditor” or one who has a “property right in” or a “claim against” the estate being administered. The court held that a party does not have to have a financial interest in the estate to have standing:
Accordingly, if one is not an heir, devisee, spouse, or creditor, then one must have a property right in or a claim against the estate to be an interested person. However, an interested person does not have to be both “(1) an heir, devisee, spouse, or creditor and (2) a person with a property right in or claim against the estate.” Therefore, as long as the Heirs meet the statutory definition of “heir” under Section 22.015, they are “interested persons” under Section 22.018(1), even if they do not have a pecuniary interest in the estate.
Id. The court also held that the heirs also did not lose standing by enforcing their rights and obtaining assets from the estate:
It is undisputed that the Heirs satisfied the statutory definition of heir at the time the temporary administrator conveyed them property interests from the estate. Just as accepting benefits under a will does not bar the devisee from pursuing other estate-related rights he has as a devisee, the Heirs’ acceptance of property interests from the estate does not bar them from exercising their other rights as heirs, such as seeking to be named administrators and objecting to LaStarza’s application for the same. Therefore, the Heirs have standing to pursue their application, objections, and other motions.
Id. The court reversed the trial court’s order and held that the heirs had standing.