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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:F.W. Young died on June 9, 2004. On July 21, 2004, the trial court admitted F.W. Young’s will to probate, ordered letters testamentary issued to Barbara Young, who was once married to F.W. Young, and appointed Barbara Young independent executor of his estate without bond. Pursuant to Texas Probate Code �250, Barbara Young had 90 days from July 21, 2004, or until Oct. 19, 2004, to file an inventory of the estate. On Sept. 21, 2004, First Community Bank (the bank) filed an authenticated claim against the estate in the amount of $41,069.87, with an additional $1,000 claim for attorneys’ fees. The bank claimed status as a secured creditor and holder of a November 2003 promissory note executed by F.W. Young in November 2003. The note reflects $40,000 principal loaned at 18 percent interest, secured by a 1999 Volkswagen, and included a provision authorizing recovery of attorneys’ fees to the bank for collection on the loan. The note initially had a May 4, 2004, maturity date, which the bank extended to Aug. 4, 2004. When Barbara Young had not filed the estate inventory by Nov. 23, 2004, the bank inquired of her counsel in writing about the expected date of filing. Having received no response, on Dec. 22, 2004, the bank filed an application to remove Barbara Young as independent executor. In an additional notice sent to Barbara Young’s counsel on Jan. 10, 2005, the bank’s counsel reiterated that the yet-to-be-filed inventory formed the basis of the request to remove the executor and requested Barbara Young’s address and telephone number for purposes of service of process. The record does not reflect that Barbara Young had ever sought an extension to file her inventory. On Feb. 21, 2005, the day on which her answer to the bank’s motion to remove her as executor was due, Barbara Young filed an inventory, appraisement and list of claims. Though this document states that F.W. Young had a checking account with the bank, it did not acknowledge the bank’s secured claim. In her response to the motion to remove her as executor, filed the next day, Barbara Young argued that the application to remove her was moot, because she had filed the inventory. The probate court approved Barbara Young’s inventory, appraisement and list of claims on Feb. 28, 2005. The record does not show that the probate court ever ruled on the bank’s motion to remove her as executor. On March 3, 2005, the bank filed a verified motion seeking $1,000 in attorneys’ fees pursuant to Texas Probate Code �149C(d). On May 12, 2005, the bank filed a schedule of costs and expenses and an amended motion seeking additional attorneys’ fees incurred by those proceedings, for a total of $2,724.25. The probate court awarded the bank its requested fees and later denied Barbara Young’s motion for new trial. Barbara Young appealed to challenge the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. HOLDING:The appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Because De Ayala v. Mackey, 193 S.W.3d 575, 578 (Tex. 2006), holds that an order refusing to remove and independent executor is interlocutory is interlocutory, the court held that an order granting attorneys’ fees related to seeking that relief is also interlocutory. More specifically, the court stated, the order granting the bank’s motion for attorneys’ fees and expenses in this case is interlocutory, because the relief granted by the probate court constitutes only a partial disposition of the relief requested by the bank pursuant to �149C of the Texas Probate Code, pursuant to which the bank sought principally to remove Young as independent executor. Young contends that the action to remove her is moot and the bank has asserted that it did not pursue that claim, nothing in the record indicated that the probate court has resolved the bank’s claim, the court stated. Moreover, the court stated, even if the probate court had resolved the claim by denying it, in accordance with the parties’ contentions here, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in De Ayala that an order denying a motion to remove an independent executor is interlocutory and not appealable. Similarly, the court stated, the order challenged by Barbara Young merely set the stage for other proceedings, including those related to the bank’s claims and any other claims against F.W. Young’s estate. Though it grants the bank $2,724.25 in attorney’s fees and costs incident to the bank’s efforts to remove Young as independent executor, the court noted that the order states only that the fees “shall be paid out of the Estate.” No language authorizes immediate collection of the funds, the court stated. Payment, therefore, can only be determined upon final settlement of the estate and therefore, upon settlement of the bank’s authenticated claim as a secured creditor and any other claims or obligations that may arise, the court stated. OPINION:Radack, C.J.; Radack, C.J., and Alcala and Bland, J.J.

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