June 2023|Case Clips

Probate Jury Ruled Decedent Adversely Possessed Real Estate

A Harris County probate jury found in favor of James Manning, as Independent Executor of the Estate of Milton Brandt, determining that Mr. Brandt owned the real property as a result of adverse possession. Mr. Brandt had lived in his residence for over 40 years and left the property to Mr. Manning in his will.

“The jury agreed with us that due to Mr. Brandt’s extensive and exclusive possession over the property, Mr. Brandt owned his house outright. Now, our client can effectuate Mr. Brandt’s wishes,” said Keith Taylor, senior associate at Crain, Caton & James. Mr. Taylor tried the case to the jury along with George “Trey” Gifford and Darlene Payne Smith. Mr. Taylor took the lead and developed the strategy of the case from day one.

The case number is 470,233-401 in Harris County Probate Court 2.

About the Attorneys

Keith Taylor practice primarily includes probate, trust and guardianship litigation and real estate. Keith’s experience includes all aspects of the probate administration process from admitting a will to probate, determination of heirs, inventorying estate assets, distributing estate assets to the beneficiaries, and closing the estate.

Darlene Payne Smith focuses her practice on individuals who have experienced a loss or are facing the issue of a loved one who is becoming incapacitated or suffered a traumatic injury that rendered them incapacitated and individuals and trust companies who serve as fiduciaries. Darlene fights to uphold the wishes of those who have established valid estate plans and she defends fiduciaries wrongfully accused. She also seeks justice against fiduciaries who have wronged their beneficiaries. Darlene represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trial and appellate courts of those counties, and across the State of Texas, in matters relating to probate, guardianship, trust litigation and administration.

George “Trey” Gifford is an associate in the Fiduciary Litigation and Probate, Trust and Guardianship Practice Areas.  He recently completed the Guardianship requirements to practice Guardianship law in this state.

About Crain Caton & James

Crain Caton & James, P.C. provides first-class legal services with integrity and exceptional value to its clients in Houston and around the world.  The Firm’s 110-year history in downtown Houston gives it strong ties to Houston and a deep commitment to giving back to the community.  Founded in 1912, the Firm now has a wide range of practice areas, including Banking, Corporate, Real Estate, Probate and Estate Planning, Environmental, Employment, Intellectual Property, Family Law, Fiduciary Litigation, Commercial Litigation & Appeals, and more.  Recently, the Firm was named by the Houston Chronicle as a finalist in the Best of the Best Law Firms in the areas of commercial litigation, corporate law, family law, real estate, and trusts & estates.