As readers of my legislative update are aware, our Texas Probate Code is not a real “Code.” It was first enacted in 1955, effective January 1, 1956, before Texas had adopted any organized system of statutory codification. It’s slated for replacement with the new Estates Code in just over two years.
In 1963, the legislature charged the Texas Legislative Council with the task of making a complete, non-substantive revision of Texas statutes into codes. Our current Probate Code isn’t one of those “codes” since it was enacted before the codification effort began and doesn’t comply with modern Texas code organizational and stylistic principles. The Probate Code was one of the last subject areas to be “codified” when the Legislative Council started its Probate Code codification project in 2006.
That project led to the passage of the decedents’ estates portion of the Estates Code in 2009. (The original name for the new code was the “Estates and Guardianship Code,” but one of the authors of the bill felt that new name was a mouthful, so the name was shortened to just the “Estates Code” prior to its passage.) In 2011, the balance of the Probate Code (primarily the guardianship provisions) was added to the Estates Code. All of the new Estates Code goes into effect January 1, 2014 (so the legislature will still have time in the 2013 session to fix any errors that are discovered).
Professor Gerry W. Beyer of Texas Tech University School of Law has just posted his compilation of the entire Estates Code, including both the 2009 and 2011 nonsubstantive bills, along with any substantive changes made in either session. He has also included conversion charts from the current Probate Code to the new Estates Code, and vice versa.
You can find the link to his version of the new Estates Code here.