Estate Disputes

Before your loved one passed, he or she may have made arrangements for how his or her estate would be cared for in the event of his or her death, including naming a personal representative to act as the independent executor of his or her will. If your loved one died without a will, a court-appointed fiduciary such as a dependent administrator, might have been chosen to identify your loved one’s assets, settle any remaining creditor claims of the estate, and distribute the remaining assets to those persons entitled to them.

Under Texas law, the personal representatives of an estate owes the beneficiaries or heirs of the estate certain legal duties. As a fiduciary, the personal representative has a duty to protect the beneficiaries' or heirs’ interests by dealing with them fairly, in good faith and with fidelity and integrity. The personal representative’s personal interests may not conflict with his fiduciary obligations to the estate.

Unfortunately, there are times when the personal representative doesn’t perform their required statutory duties and/or common law fiduciary duties. When that happens, you need to know your legal options.

The Texas Estates Code protects families from misconduct by unscrupulous representatives.

Grounds for removal of an executor or administrator include:

  • Misapplication or embezzlement of estate assets
  • Failure to make an accounting required by law
  • Gross misconduct or gross mismanagement in the performance of an executor’s duties
  • Becoming legally incapacitated or incapable of performing fiduciary duties
  • Failure to properly care for the estate property
  • Failure to pay estate debts properly
  • Personally benefiting from the use of the estate assets