“Probate exception” to federal jurisdiction inapplicable

The district court dismissed a case about the misappropriation of trust assets under the “probate exception” to federal diversity jurisdiction.  Curtis v. Brunsting, No. 12-20164 (Jan. 9, 2013) (applying Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293 (2006)).  The Fifth Circuit stated that “Marshall requires a two-step inquiry into (1) whether the property in dispute is estate property within the custody of the probate court and (2) whether the plaintiff’s claims would require the federal court to assume in rem jurisdiction over that property.”  Id. at 5.  Finding no evidence that this inter vivos trust was, or even could be, subject to Teas probate administration, the Court reversed and remanded.

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