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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Juan Roberto Brittingham McLean (Juan), a Mexican resident, died in Mexico on Jan. 14, 1998. His will was admitted to probate in a Mexican court, and two executors, Raul Hernandez Garcia and Harold Turk, were named. Brittingham’s wife, Ana Maria de la Fuente de Brittingham (Ana), sued his estate in that proceeding and asked that court to set aside their property agreement. The Mexican probate court denied her request, and an appeal is pending in Mexico. The Mexican probate proceeding remains open. Subsequently, in August 2000, Ana filed an application to have Juan’s will admitted to probate in Texas, as she alleged that he owned personal property (described as bank deposits, portfolio investments and claims against third parties) in Webb County. Later that month, the trial court issued ancillary letters testamentary to Ana, naming her the independent executor of Juan’s estate. On behalf of the estate, Ana sued Juan’s daughters and grandchildren (who, pursuant to Juan’s will, were the beneficiaries of 95 percent of his residuary estate), accusing them of pillaging the estate’s assets. Juan’s only son, John R. Brittingham Aguirre (John), intervened, alleging an interest as a creditor of the estate. Maria Cristina Brittingham-Sada de Ayala, Juan’s daughter, moved to dismiss the ancillary probate proceeding for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, alternatively, to have Ana removed as executor. The trial court denied the motion, and Ayala appealed. The estate and Aguirre moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction. Citing Crowson v. Wakeham, 897 S.W.2d 779 (Tex. 1995), they argued that, because numerous pleadings and issues remained pending in the trial court, the trial court’s order was an unappealable interlocutory order. The court of appeals disagreed and concluded that it had jurisdiction. Relying on Crowson, the court noted that the probate court order addressed all the relief requested by Ayala’s motion, resolved the question of subject matter jurisdiction, and confirmed both the admission of the will to probate and the appointment of Brittingham as executor. Thus, the court held that the probate court’s order “complete[d] the initial phase of the probate proceeding and [was] final for purposes of appeal.” The court then held that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction over the ancillary probate proceeding, but that Ana should be removed as executor due to a conflict of interest. After the court of appeals issued its opinion, Ana resigned as representative of the ancillary estate and withdrew from the litigation. Subsequently, Roberto Tijerina, the Mexican estate’s successor independent executor, applied to be named Ana’s successor in the Texas case. On April 14, 2004, the trial court denied Tijerina’s application and appointed Kevin Michael Mackie as the estate’s successor administrator. Mackie entered an appearance on behalf of the estate in this matter. HOLDING:The court reverses the court of appeals judgment and dismisses the appeal. Because of the inherent difficulties in applying any test to determine appealability, the court urges parties to seek severance orders to eliminate ambiguities about whether the order was intended to be final and appealable. The parties in this case did not seek a severance before appealing the order. They could hardly be faulted, the court states, however, as an order denying a motion to dismiss an entire proceeding for want of subject matter jurisdiction is more like a prelude than a finale. It certainly does not dispose of a claim that, if asserted independently, would be the proper subject of a lawsuit. Moreover, under Crowson, the trial court’s order was interlocutory because it did not dispose of all parties or issues in a particular phase of the proceedings. Because an order denying a plea to the jurisdiction and refusing to remove an executor does not end a phase of the proceedings, but sets the stage for the resolution of all proceedings, the order is interlocutory. The court of appeals did not reach Ayala’s other alleged basis for appellate jurisdiction that the trial court’s failure to remove Ana as executor was immediately appealable as an order that “overrules a motion to vacate an order that appoints a receiver or trustee.” Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �51.014(a)(2). Ayala relies on a statement in Bailey v. Cherokee County Appraisal District, 862 S.W.2d 581, 584 (Tex. 1993), that “the administrator is designated the trustee of the estate property.” That statement referred to the administrator’s obligation, as holder of legal title to the estate’s property, to pay ad valorem taxes accruing during administration. The statement did not equate an executor to a trustee for all purposes, and there is no evidence that the Legislature intended to permit immediate appeals of orders refusing to remove estate executors. The court concludes that �51.014(a)(2) does not permit Ayala to pursue an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s order. OPINION:Jefferson, C.J.; O’Neill and Green, JJ., did not participate in the decision.

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