Probate Academy

May 9 - 11, 2018

Moody Gardens Hotel
Spa and Convention Center
7 Hope Blvd
Galveston, TX 77554

​The Probate Academy is a program designed to meet the educational needs of judges, clerks and other court personnel responsible for setting and disposing of probate and guardianship cases.

Sponsored by

The Texas Judicial Academy, a partnership between the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Tech University School of Law

Overview

The Probate Academy is a program designed to meet the educational needs of judges, clerks and other court personnel responsible for setting and disposing of probate and guardianship cases. The course will feature two tracks: one for judges and one for elected clerks and those responsible for daily operations of the probate court. Judges can earn 16 hours of continuing education credit for attending and approval is pending for clerks' hours.

The curriculum has been designed to meet the specific needs of each constituency, emphasizing the duties set forth in the Texas Estates Code and providing opportunities for interactive training and facilitated discussion with other elected officials and county personnel. In addition to in-depth training on core topics, the exchange of practical solutions to common problems is encouraged.

Who Should Attend

The content of this program is directed to constitutional county judges, elected clerks and court personnel when hearing and deposing of a general jurisdiction probate docket

County Judges Education Advisory Committee

Hon. Wes Suiter, Chair, Angelina County Judge
Hon. Don Allred, Oldham County Judge
Hon. Brett Bray, Blanco County Judge
Hon. Ronnie J. Gordon, Hartley County Judge
Hon. Woodrow “Woody” Gossom, Jr., Wichita County Judge
Hon. Francisco Ponce, Dimmit County Judge
Hon. Byron Ryder, Leon County Judge
Hon. Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Judge
Hon. Becky A. Wilbanks, Cass County Judge
Ms. DeLeith Duke Gossett, Associate Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law (ex officio)
Hon. Joyce G. Hudman, Brazoria County Clerk (ex officio)

County Clerks Education Advisory Committee for Probate Academy

Hon. Heidi Easley, Victoria County Clerk
Hon. Janette Green, Palo Pinto County Clerk
Hon. Donece Gregory, Tyler County Clerk
Hon. Bena E. Hester, Briscoe County District/County Clerk
Hon. Rose Pietsch, Bastrop County Clerk
Hon. Beth A. Rothermel, Washington County Clerk
Hon. Deborah L. Rushing, Yoakum County Clerk
Hon. Sandra K. Sanders, Wharton County Clerk
Hon. Mark Staples, Anderson County Clerk

Reimbursement

This program is partially funded by a Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund Grant administered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Reimbursement may be provided for grant-allowable meals, lodging and transportation up to $750 per fiscal year. Flight and hotel reservations made through third-party vendors such as Expedia, Hotwire, etc. are reimbursable. Valid, detailed receipts are required to be eligible for reimbursement. Booking and confirmation receipts or emails are not acceptable documentation for reimbursement.

Reimbursement may be provided for county judges and one clerk or clerk personnel (per county).

Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center - Host Hotel is Full

Seven Hope Blvd.
Galveston 77554
(888) 388-8484

For reservations, call (888) 388-8484 and request space in the "Texas Association of Counties" room block. Rooms at the $139 (single, double, triple and quad) rate are limited, so please make your reservation as soon as possible. The deadline for this guaranteed room rate is April 16.

Other Area Hotels

Hampton Inn & Suites Galveston
6431 Central City Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77551
(409) 744-5600

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Galveston West-Seawall
8628 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(409) 740-7900

Courtyard by Marriott Galveston Island
9550 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(409) 497-2850

Tuesday, May 8

2-5 p.m. Registration

Wednesday, May 9

7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
7 a.m.              Coffee and Breakfast
8-8:15 a.m. Introductions and Welcome
Hon. Wes Suiter, Chair, County Judges Education Advisory Committee and Angelina County Judge
Hon. Beth A. Rothermel, County Clerk, Washington County
Hon. Susan M. Redford, Judicial Program Manager, Texas Association of Counties
GENERAL SESSIONS WITH CLERKS
8:15-8:45 a.m. Addressing Mental Health Issues in Texas
This session will provide an overview to the challenges that mental health issues can create in Texas courthouses, as well as cover the current initiatives of the newly launched Texas Commission on Mental Health.
Justice Bill Boyce, Justice, Fourteenth Court of Appeals
8:45-9:45 a.m. The Guardianship Process
This session will be a high-level overview of the guardianship process including the opening, administration and closing of a guardianship. The types and kinds of guardianships will be reviewed with a brief estimate of the timeline for the first year of a guardianship and what to expect.
Ms. Donna Courville, Of Counsel, Boutin Jones Attorneys at Law
9:45-10 a.m. Break
JUDGES BREAKOUT SESSIONS
10-10:45 a.m. Initiating and Alternatives to Guardianship
This session will explore more than one way to initiate a guardianship. We will also examine alternatives to guardianship. Next, we will look at tools to limit the effect of guardianships and consider supports and services.
Ms. Donna Courville, Attorney, Boutin Jones Attorneys at Law
10:45-11:45 a.m. Annual Report and Accountings
In this session, we will review sample annual reports by a guardian of the person. We will also use a set of sample facts for a guardian of the estate to calculate a bond, set up an inventory and review an annual accounting including a guardian’s fee calculation.
Ms. Donna Courville, Attorney, Boutin Jones Attorneys at Law
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1-2 p.m. Guardianship Case Studies
After lunch, we will briefly discuss a few real cases. Next, we will study three family scenarios involving different family challenges and questions unique to each guardianship.
Ms. Donna Courville, Attorney, Boutin Jones Attorneys at Law
2-2:15 p.m. Break
2:15-3:15 p.m. Role of Guardian and Attorney Ad Litems
This session will discuss and distinguish the roles of the guardian ad litem and the attorney ad litem in guardianship cases, including their duties and any conflicts that may arise.
Ms. Sarah Pacheco, Attorney, Crain Caton & James
3:30-4:15 p.m. Guardianship Q&A
4:15 p.m. Recess
5:30 p.m. Welcome Reception

Thursday, May 10

GENERAL SESSIONS WITH CLERKS
8-9 a.m. OCA Guardianship Update
This session will provide an overview of new guardianship reforms and requirements for guardians in Texas. The discussion will include a description of the Office of Court Administration (OCA) services provided to the courts and clerks, and an outline of the new registration and training for guardianships throughout the state.
Mr. Jeff Rinard, Certification Division Director, Office of Court Administration
Ms. Cathy Horvath, Chief Deputy/Supervisor – Courts, Guadalupe County Clerk’s Office
9-9:15 a.m. Break
9:15-10:15 a.m. Guardianship Legislative Update
The world of guardianship continues to see significant changes. This session will examine the statutory changes resulting from the 85th Legislature and recent trends in Texas courts.
Hon. Susan M. Redford, Judicial Program Manager, Texas Association of Counties
10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m. Mock Trial: Mental Health Proceedings
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
JUDGES BREAKOUT SESSIONS
1-2 p.m. Mental Health Proceedings
This presentation will discuss the steps needed to access the Texas mental health care system. The Texas Health and Safety/Mental Health Code will be thoroughly reviewed with a practical guideline of how each statute translates into the real world. The attendees will gain a better understanding of how the mental health code is applied while maintaining the integrity of due process.
Hon. Amy R. Parsons, Associate Judge, Probate Court No. 3, Harris County
2-2:15 p.m. Break
2:15-3:15 p.m. Judicial Responsibility and Oversight in Probate Cases
Probate cases require ongoing court supervision. This session will review the responsibilities of the court before and after probate is granted, including what options are available when an executor or administrator is not performing their duties.
Mr. Gene Terry, Executive Director, Texas Association of Counties
3:15-3:45 p.m. Break
GENERAL SESSIONS WITH CLERKS
3:45-5:15 p.m. Probate and Guardianship Family Feud
Hon. Deborah Rushing, Yoakum County Clerk
5 p.m.              Recess

Friday, May 11

JUDGES BREAKOUT SESSIONS
7:45-8:45 a.m. Probate Caselaw Update
The appellate courts are often asked to review your decisions. This presentation will cover recent appellate cases and explain why the probate judge’s actions were upheld or overturned. By recognizing situations that have led to time-consuming and costly appellate litigation in the past, probate judges can reduce the likelihood of the same situations arising with future cases.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
8:45-9:45 a.m Intestate Succession
Most Texans die intestate. Thus, it is important for probate judges to understand how property passes under Texas law when a person dies without a valid will. This presentation will review the basic intestate succession rules as well as explain the situations which can alter the normal rules.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
9:45-10 a.m. Break
GENERAL SESSIONS WITH CLERKS
10-11 a.m. Heirship Proceedings
Heirship proceedings are necessary to formalize the determination of heirs. This presentation will discuss the details of heirship proceedings such as when they are necessary, how they are conducted, and the situations where an ad litem is necessary.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
11 a.m.-noon Probate Legislative Update
The 2017 Texas Legislature made many changes to probate law ranging from the minor and technical to the significant. This presentation will highlight these changes and what a probate court needs to know about them.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
Noon Adjourn


Agenda subject to change

Tuesday, May 8

2-5 p.m. Registration

Wednesday, May 9

7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Open
7 a.m.              Coffee and Breakfast
8-8:15 a.m. Introductions and Welcome
Hon. Wes Suiter, Chair, County Judges Education Advisory Committee and Angelina County Judge
Hon. Beth A. Rothermel, County Clerk, Washington County
Hon. Susan M. Redford, Judicial Program Manager, Texas Association of Counties
GENERAL SESSIONS WITH JUDGES
8:15-8:45 a.m. Addressing Mental Health Issues in Texas
This session will provide an overview to the challenges that mental health issues can create in Texas courthouses, as well as cover the current initiatives of the newly launched Texas Commission on Mental Health.
Justice Bill Boyce, Justice, Fourteenth Court of Appeals
8:45-9:45 a.m. The Guardianship Process
This session will be a high-level overview of the guardianship process including the opening, administration and closing of a guardianship. The types and kinds of guardianships will be reviewed with a brief estimate of the timeline for the first year of a guardianship and what to expect.
Ms. Donna Courville, Of Counsel, Boutin Jones Attorneys at Law
9:45-10 a.m. Break
CLERKS BREAKOUT SESSIONS
10-11:30 a.m. Guardianships
This session will discuss the different types of guardianship and the purpose of each, including temporary, permanent, partial and full guardianships. It will also provide step-by-step instructions for filing a new guardianship case including the forms, citations and postings.
Hon. Beth Rothermel, Washington County Clerk
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1-2 p.m. Texas Guardianship Registration
This session will provide detailed information about the new guardianship registration, training and criminal history requirements with emphasis on the roles that the Judicial Branch Certification Commission and the court clerks and judges will play in helping to enforce the new requirements and to provide and exchange information relating to guardianships in Texas.
Mr. Jeff Rinard, Certification Division Director, Office of Court Administration
Ms. Cathy Horvath, Chief Deputy/Supervisor – Courts, Guadalupe County Clerk’s Office
2-2:30 p.m. Registry of the Court
County clerks are tasked with overseeing the registry of the court they serve. This session will provide an overview of the responsibilities of the clerk in depositing and managing these funds.
Hon. Sandra Sanders, Wharton County Clerk
2:30-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-3:15 p.m. Probate and Guardianship Fees
This session will discuss fees and statutes associated with filing fees for adverse actions and foreign wills.
Hon. Janette Green, Palo Pinto County Clerk
Hon. Donece Gregory, Tyler County Clerk
3:15-3:45 p.m. Small Estates and Muniment of Title
This session is an overview of the clerk’s role and processes in the filing and handling of probating a last will and testament as a muniment of title, as well as the process of small estate affidavit filings.
Hon. Heidi Easley, Victoria County Clerk
3:45-4 p.m. Break
4-5 p.m. Mental Health Commitments and Assessments
In this session, we will examine the types of filings for temporary and permanent mental health proceedings.
Hon. Sandra Sanders, Wharton County Clerk
5-5:30 p.m. Guardianship and Mental Health Q&A
Hon. Beth Rothermel, Washington County Clerk
Hon. Sandra Sanders, Wharton County Clerk
Hon. Donece Gregory, Tyler County Clerk
Hon. Janette Green, Palo Pinto County Clerk
5:30 p.m. Recess
5:30 p.m. Welcome Reception

Thursday, May 10

GENERAL SESSIONS WITH JUDGES
8-9 a.m. Office of Court Administration Guardianship Update
This session will provide an overview of new guardianship reforms and requirements for guardians in Texas. The discussion will include a description of the Office of Court Administration (OCA) services provided to the courts and clerks and an outline of the new registration and training for guardianships throughout the state.
Mr. Jeff Rinard, Certification Division Director, Office of Court Administration
Ms. Cathy Horvath, Chief Deputy/Supervisor – Courts, Guadalupe County Clerk’s Office
9-9:15 a.m. Break
9:15-10:15 a.m. Guardianship Legislative Update
The world of guardianship continues to see significant changes. This session will examine the statutory changes resulting from the 85th Legislature and recent trends in Texas courts.
Hon. Susan M. Redford, Judicial Program Manager, Texas Association of Counties
10:15-10:30 a.m. Break
10:30-11:30 a.m. Mock Trial: Mental Health Proceedings
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
CLERKS BREAKOUT SESSIONS
1-1:45 p.m. Safekeeping of Wills
This session will discuss the duties and responsibilities of the county clerk’s office in regard to the filing of wills for safekeeping. Information will be taken from the Estates Code, Chapter 252 and other publications and websites.
Hon. Deborah Rushing, Yoakum County Clerk
1:45-2:30 p.m. Determination of Heirships
This session will cover the steps in determining heirship, including the filing of the application. It will also discuss the applicable portions of the Texas Estates Code for sales of real or personal property, removals of executor or administrator and removals with notice.
Hon. Julie Smith, Potter County Clerk
Hon. Bena Hester, Briscoe County/District Clerk
2:30-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-3:30 p.m. Independent and Dependent Administrations
This session will discuss the differences between independent administration and dependent administration and walk through the components of the probate process, including the application, the will, fees charged, required notices and postings, and forms clerks may encounter.
Hon. Julie Smith, Potter County Clerk
Hon. Bena Hester, Briscoe County/District Clerk
3:30-3:45 p.m. Break
GENERAL SESSION WITH JUDGES
3:45-5:15 p.m. Probate and Guardianship Family Feud
Hon. Deborah Rushing, Yoakum County Clerk
5:15 p.m. Recess

Friday, May 11

CLERKS BREAKOUT SESSIONS
8-9 a.m. Records and Reporting
This session will discuss the daily, monthly and annual reporting requirements of a clerk including, but not limited to, reports to the Office of Court Administration, NICS and DPS. It will also cover record retention and the applicable retention schedules.
Hon. Beth Rothermel, Washington County Clerk
Hon. Rose Pietsch, Bastrop County Clerk
9-9:45 a.m Q&A Session
Clerks Committee
9:45-10 a.m. Break
GENERAL SESSIONS WITH JUDGES
10-11 a.m. Heirship Proceedings
Heirship proceedings are necessary to formalize the determination of heirs. This presentation will discuss the details of heirship proceedings such as when they are necessary, how they are conducted, and the situations where an ad litem is necessary.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
11 a.m.-noon Probate Legislative Update
The 2017 Texas Legislature made many changes to probate law ranging from the minor and technical to the significant. This presentation will highlight these changes and what a probate court needs to know about them.
Prof. Gerry Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law
Noon Adjourn


Agenda subject to change

The Probate Academy provides 16 hours of judicial education credit for constitutional county judges. Application is pending for clerks' education hours. Application is pending with the State Bar of Texas to determine MCLE credit for attorneys.

All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing (fax or email acceptable) on or before May 3 (less $10 administrative fee). Cancellations and refunds after May 3 will be subject to an administrative fee equal to one-half of the registration fee. No refund requests will be honored after May 31.

Please email Laura Tolin or send fax to (512) 477-1324 to cancel your conference registration.

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