Joe Marrs represents clients at trial and arbitration of will contests, trust litigation, and other fiduciary litigation matters.
In 2022, Mr. Marrs was listed in the “Top 100 Houston” lawyers in Texas Monthly magazine. From 2016 to the present, Mr. Marrs has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” in Texas Monthly magazine in the area of trust and estate litigation. From 2019 to the present he has been included in The Best Lawyers In America by BL Rankings. Mr. Marrs was rated “AV-Preeminent” in 2012 by Martindale-Hubbell, a peer-review system.
Mr. Marrs is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas. He is a member of the Probate Section of the Houston Bar Association and is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. He served on the board of directors for the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Austin Bar Association from 2011-2012.
Mr. Marrs graduated with high honors from the University of Texas with a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Latin. He returned to the University of Texas for law school, where he served as a member of the Texas Law Review’s editorial board. After earning his J.D., Mr. Marrs served as law clerk to the Honorable Guy Herman in the Travis County Probate Court Number One.
In 2023, Mr. Marrs was asked by South Texas College of Law to teach Wills, Trusts, and Estate as adjunct professor. Mr. Marrs speaks and teaches in the area of fiduciary litigation.
- Texas Super Lawyers by Thomas Reuters (2016-Present)
Publications & Presentations
- Adjunct Professor of Wills, Trusts & Estates, South Texas College of Law
- “Busting a Trust,” Best Lawyers Business Edition, Summer 2021
- “What the New ‘Fiduciary Rule’ Means for Trustees and Investment Advisors,” Fiduciary Litigation, Texas Bar CLE, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, San Antonio Texas
- “Remedies for Mismanagement of Trust Assets,” 9th Annual Damages in Civil Litigation, Feb. 16-17, 2017, Houston, Texas
- “How Not to Invest in a Trust: Pitfalls for Trustees and Brokers,” Bank of Texas and BOK, lunch series for CFP credit, Financial, Jan. 28, 2016
- “Avoiding Liability for Investing Trust Accounts: Trustees, FINRA, and Broker Liability,” Attorneys in Tax and Probate, Sept. 1, 2015
- “Playing the Probate Card: A Plaintiff’s Guide to Transfer to Statutory Probate Court,” 36 St. Mary’s L.J. 99 (2004)
- “Wills: What Will You Do?,” Austin Chronicle, Apr. 7, 2004
- “Intestacy: No Will, Several Ways,” Austin Chronicle, May 30, 2004
- “Temporary Guardianships: When Are They Appropriate?” (coauthor), Guardianship Course 2003, Mar. 13, 2003, Dallas, Texas
- J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 2002.
- B.A., Plan II and Latin, with high honors, University of Texas at Austin, 1998.
[Names Confidential on Request] (2020) (Harris County)
Joe Marrs, Vaibhavi Parmar, and Zev Kusin represented a trustee and executor in defending claims to a multi-million dollar trust. After a trial conducted entirely via video conference (due to COVID-19), the firm secured a take-nothing ruling in the client’s favor.
[Names Confidential on Request] (2020) (Travis County)
Joe Marrs and Vaibhavi Parmar represented siblings in a will contest, recovering a substantial estate settlement shortly before trial.
[Names Confidential on Request] (2019) (Harris County)
Joe Marrs and Ashley Croswell represented will beneficiaries in litigation over interpretation of an unusual will concerning the care of pets. The firm secured a final judgment, including attorneys’ fees, for the clients.
[Names Confidential by Request] (2019) (Harris County)
Joe Marrs and Vaibhavi Parmar counseled a national financial institution serving as corporate trustee of a trust valued over $250 million in finalizing a negotiated division of assets, preventing unnecessary litigation for the client.
[Names Confidential on Request] (2018) (Harris County and Aransas County)
Joe Marrs represented the contestant in a will contest involving an eight-figure estate that settled on confidential terms.
[Names Confidential on Request] (2017) (Harris County)
Joe Marrs represented heirs defending an eight-figure estate against claims of a stepmother that settled on confidential terms.
In re Estate of R.E.F., Deceased (2018) (Comal County)
Joe Marrs and Ashley Croswell represented a spouse and daughter in a claim under a decedent’s Will.
In re Estate of L.N.B., Deceased (2014) (Mesa County, Colorado)
Joe Marrs, with the help of local counsel, represented contingent beneficiaries in a petition for appointment of a neutral trustee of a testamentary family trust.
Estate of S.M.P., Deceased (2014) (Travis County)
Joe Marrs represented a fortune 500 financial institution in claims to recover assets and protect its interests in a significant estate dispute. The case resolved on confidential terms.
In re P.F.T. (2013) (Travis County)
No. D-1-GN-13-002061, in the 126th District Court of Travis County, Texas (2013):
Joe Marrs represented trust beneficiaries first in a successful petition to appoint themselves co-trustees, and then against an intervening former trustee who sought to overturn their appointment as successor co-trustees of the trust on various grounds. Following a final judgment, then a second evidentiary hearing on the former trustee’s motion for new trial, the court upheld the judgment in favor of the clients.
Estate of C.W.B., Deceased,
No. 06929, in the County Court of Llano County, Texas (2013):
Joe Marrs represented surviving children as will contestants against a caregiver/will beneficiary, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and lack of testamentary capacity. The case resolved favorably for the firm’s clients, who received a share of the decedent’s Llano County ranch.
Estate of Emma Fuhst West, Deceased;
No. C-1-PB-12-001276, in Probate Court Number One of Travis County, Texas (2013):
Joe Marrs was appointed by the Travis County Probate Court as attorney ad litem representing 70+ heirs in a complex intestate estate.
In Re P.F.T.,
in the 126th District Court of Travis County, Texas (2013):
The firm represented beneficiaries of a trust in claims against a trustee for day-trading and self-dealing, resulting in losses to the trust and damages exceeding $1.4 million. As a result of pre-suit negotiations, the trustee resigned and the firm’s clients obtained a final judgment appointing themselves co-trustees in the Travis County District Court, and successfully defending their appointment on appeal to the Third Court of Appeals.
B.S, C.S., & T.S. v. S.W. & J.K.,
In the 23rd Judicial District Court of Wharton County, Texas (2013):
Represented a partner and trust beneficiary in claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and equitable dissolution of a rice farming partnership and termination of a testamentary trust. Closing seven years of litigation, including one failed settlement, the firm negotiated an agreed final judgment that dissolved the partnership, terminated the trust, and divided all assets on terms favorable to its client.
In Re Guardianship of M.A.M., Jr., an Incapacitated Person,
No. C-1-PB-12-001162, in the Probate Court No. 1 of Travis County, Texas (2012):
THE FIRM represented the family of a proposed ward in a guardianship bench trial.
Tomlinson v. Estate of Theis,
2008 WL 160202 (Tex. App.—Austin Jan. 18, 2008, no pet.):
Chris Johns authored the winning brief in a will challenge involving a multi-million-dollar estate.
Estate of F. E. M.,
No. C-1-PB-10-000626, In Probate Court No. 1 of Travis County, Texas:
Joe Marrs represented children defending their father’s will and real estate against a will contest and partnership dispute. The contestant—a friend and business partner of the decedent—offered medical testimony attempting to show the decedent lacked testamentary capacity or was unduly influenced to sign his last will. The contestant also made claims to the decedent’s real estate based upon a written partnership agreement. Shortly before trial, the court granted Mr. Marrs’s plenary motion for summary judgment, dismissing all the contestant’s claims.
State Farm Life Insurance Co. v. M.D.,
No. 09-CA-244 LY, In the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas; Estate of K., Deceased, Cause No. NO. C-1-PB-09-089882, In Probate Court No. 1 of Travis County, Texas:
Joe Marrs represented a surviving wife, who was not a named beneficiary of her deceased husband’s will. Prosecuting claims in probate court and in a parallel federal interpleader action, the client ultimately obtained a share of a life insurance policy, estate assets in kind, and a spousal allowance. The total net recovery for the client in the settlement was $125,000 cash plus estate assets in kind.
C.J.K. v. R.F.,
No. D-1-GN-10-002656, In the 201st District Court, Travis County, Texas:
In a wrongful-death case, Joe Marrs obtained a policy-limits recovery for the five children of an accident victim.
In Re Estate of B.,
Cause No. 360,899, In Probate Court No. 1 of Harris County, Texas:
Representing a proponent at jury trial of a will contest involving an estate of significant assets. The contestant, the decedent’s second wife, alleged that the will was revoked. Joe Marrs obtained a verdict upholding the will and full award of attorney’s fees to the client.