Grounds for Removing an Executor in Texas

By Jim Thomas

Under Texas law, you can be removed as the executor of an estate for a number of reasons, although your conduct must be quite egregious for removal. Even if you have an apparent conflict of interest between your duties as an executor and rights as a beneficiary, if designated as one in the will, a Texas court may be reluctant to remove you unless you have clearly failed to carry out your fiduciary duties of honesty and good faith toward both the creditors and beneficiaries of the estate.

Under Texas law, you can be removed as the executor of an estate for a number of reasons, although your conduct must be quite egregious for removal. Even if you have an apparent conflict of interest between your duties as an executor and rights as a beneficiary, if designated as one in the will, a Texas court may be reluctant to remove you unless you have clearly failed to carry out your fiduciary duties of honesty and good faith toward both the creditors and beneficiaries of the estate.

Failure to Perform Duties

Three of the six grounds for removal of an executor deal with a failure to perform required statutory duties. For example, you are required to file with the probate court an inventory of the estate's assets and a list of creditors' claims against the estate within 90 days, unless the court approves an extension of time. You also must file other required court documents in a timely manner.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Gross Misconduct

Two of the six grounds to remove an executor are for egregious misconduct. If there is sufficient evidence to believe you have "misapplied or embezzled," or are about to misapply or embezzle, property under your control, you can be removed. Similarly, if you are proven to be guilty of gross misconduct or gross mismanagement in the performance of your duties, you can be removed. The Texas Supreme Court emphasizes the use of the word "gross" in the statutes, setting a high bar for those who wish to challenge and oust an executor.

Incapacity

If an executor is incapacitated and can't properly perform his duties, removal can occur. If you are convicted and sentenced to a penitentiary, you are considered incapable of serving under Texas law. Although not explicitly cited as a conviction in Texas's probate code, a court may consider you legally incapacitated if you are too ill to carry out your duties or suffering from dementia.

Conflicts of Interest

The Texas Supreme Court held that a potential conflict of interest is not enough to oust an executor. Since spouses and family members are commonly appointed as executors of an estate and named as beneficiaries, executors frequently have an apparent conflict of interest. If such status was enough for removal, it would undermine the right of the deceased to name a family member as executor and interfere with the executor's ability to carry out his duties. For these reasons, a potential conflict does not equal actual misconduct.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Reasons to Remove an Executor in PA

References

Related articles

Can the Beneficiary Be the Executor of a Will?

Most states do not have any laws against a beneficiary in a will also serving as the executor, or the person charged with overseeing the probate process. In fact, the situation is not uncommon. However, there are several practical considerations to take into account if you name an executor who will also inherit under the terms of your will.

What if the Executor of a Will Is Dead?

The person you name in your will to manage your estate is called the executor. Other terms include fiduciary or personal representative. This person's duties include gathering your assets, paying taxes and bills owed by your estate and distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries according to the terms of your will. If the person you named as the executor is not available or is unwilling to serve for any reason, your state's laws allow the court to appoint someone else as executor.

Executors in Wills

The executor is the person appointed by the court to administer an estate. Usually the court appoints the executor named in the will, unless that person is disqualified. If you do not name an executor in your will, the court will decide whom to appoint. Avoid the court making this important decision by choosing a qualified executor and alternative, thoroughly discussing the executor’s substantial responsibilities with the people you plan to name and making sure they are comfortable accepting the job.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can I Fire the Executor of My Uncle's Will?

Once the probate court has designated an executor to your uncle’s will, it will not likely remove that person ...

Failure to Execute Fiduciary Responsibilities as an Executor of a Will

An executor is not guilty of misconduct if he does not get along with the will’s beneficiaries or puts the ...

What Happens if an Executor Refuses to Probate?

An executor has a duty to act in the best interest of the estate, and refusing to probate an estate may be cause for ...

How to Remove an Executor From a Will in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A Personal Representative, or Executor, is appointed by the court in a probate proceeding to protect the assets of the ...

Browse by category