By Thompson                                            H.B. No. 778
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the jurisdiction of a statutory probate court in
 1-3     certain matters relating to decedents' estates.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Sections 5A(b) and (e), Texas Probate Code, are
 1-6     amended to read as follows:
 1-7           (b)  In proceedings in the statutory probate courts and
 1-8     district [districts] courts, the phrases "appertaining to estates"
 1-9     and "incident to an estate" in this Code include the probate of
1-10     wills, the issuance of letters testamentary and of administration,
1-11     and the determination of heirship, and also include, but are not
1-12     limited to, all claims by or against an estate, all actions for
1-13     trial of title to land and for the enforcement of liens thereon,
1-14     all actions for trial of the right of property, all actions to
1-15     construe wills, the interpretation and administration of
1-16     testamentary trusts and the applying of constructive trusts, and
1-17     generally all matters relating to the settlement, partition, and
1-18     distribution of estates of deceased persons.  All statutory probate
1-19     courts may, in the exercise of their jurisdiction, notwithstanding
1-20     any other provisions of this Code, hear all suits, actions, and
1-21     applications filed against or on behalf of any heirship proceeding
1-22     or decedent's estate, including estates administered by an
1-23     independent executor;  all such suits, actions, and applications
1-24     are appertaining to and incident to an estate [for the purposes of
 2-1     this section].  This subsection shall be construed in conjunction
 2-2     with and in harmony with Section 145 and all other sections of this
 2-3     Code dealing with independent executors, but shall not be construed
 2-4     so as to increase permissible judicial control over independent
 2-5     executors.  All statutory probate courts shall have the same powers
 2-6     over independent executors that are exercisable by the district
 2-7     courts.  In situations where the jurisdiction of a statutory
 2-8     probate court is concurrent with that of a district court, any
 2-9     cause of action appertaining to estates or incident to an estate
2-10     shall be brought in a statutory probate court rather than in the
2-11     district court.
2-12           (e)  Subsections (c)(2), (3), and (4) [(c)] and Subsection
2-13     (d) apply whether or not the matter is appertaining to or incident
2-14     to an estate.
2-15           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
2-16           SECTION 3.  The importance of this legislation and the
2-17     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
2-18     emergency and an imperative public necessity  that the
2-19     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
2-20     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.