County Courts at Law do not have jurisdiction to consider trust disputes
Subject matter jurisdiction in Texas contested probate and trust cases is a patchwork, often confusing, system. The fear of all parties is litigating a case for years, only to find out on appeal that the lower court had no jurisdiction to consider key issues. Subject matter jurisdiction can not be conferred on a particular court by agreement, estoppel, or judicial admissions. Furthermore, lack of subject matter jurisdiction is an issue a party may raise for the first time on appeal. These concepts are highlighted in a recent opinion by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals. In Wood v. Boldt, the court vacated various rulings made by the County Court at Law No.1 of Parker County. The problem? Only statutory probate courts and district courts have jurisdiction over trusts, even testamentary trusts:
The county court at law should have transferred the disputes regarding the testamentary trusts to a district court in Parker County.