In The Management Trust of Norsworthy, the court reviewed a trustee’s accountings and petition for approval to enter into an agreement with the beneficiary’s wife to make regular distributions to her for certain recurring expenses. No. 05-16-00683-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1335 (Tex. App.—Dallas February 15, 2017, no pet.). Thereafter, the beneficiary’s wife attempted to appeal the following orders: (1) an order requiring prior court approval for disbursements greater than $2500, (2) an oral denial of a motion to stay or vacate the disbursement approval order, (3) an interim order establishing a budget, (4) an oral denial of motion to compel ex-parte communications, and (5) an order denying a motion for recusal. The court of appeals asked the parties to brief why the court had jurisdiction over these orders. The court acknowledged that “an order in a probate case is deemed an appealable judgment if it is entered in a phase of the probate proceeding that a statute has declared final or in which no issues remain.” The court of appeals held that because these orders simply set the stage for further proceedings and were not even written orders, they were not sufficiently final for appeal and dismissed the appeal.
In Estate of Easley, the sole beneficiary of an estate, who was incarcerated, filed motions to remove the executor, for an accounting, and for other relief. No. 07-15-00378-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1640 (Tex. App.—Amarillo February 24, 2017, no pet.). The trial court denied those motions, and the beneficiary appealed. The court of appeals held that it did not have jurisdiction over the appeal. Regarding the accounting, the court stated: “No statute makes a trial court’s ruling on an interested person’s demand for a periodic accounting immediately appealable, either as a final order or as an interlocutory appeal. An accounting under Probate Code section 149A includes matters subject to further action in the estate administration. Because the trial court’s ruling on Webb’s motion for accounting did not end a discrete phase of the proceeding it was not immediately appealable and we lack appellate jurisdiction.” Regarding the removal motion, the court stated: “We find the order denying Webb’s motion to remove Walker was not final or otherwise appealable. No statute makes the trial court’s order immediately appealable. For that reason, and for the further reason that Webb’s excessive-commission allegation is unresolved, the court’s order did not dispose of a discrete stage of the litigation.”