I DON'T THINK THE EXECUTOR IS DOING THEIR JOB. WHAT DO I DO?
April 14, 2021
The executor’s job is to protect and manage a decedent’s estate until all assets are claimed, debts and taxes are paid, and the estate is distributed according to the wishes of the decedent. It is a job for which the executor can be paid 5% of all sums the estate receives in cash and all sums paid out in cash. For large estates, this compensation can be significant, and significant compensation reduces the value of the estate assets paid out to beneficiaries.
People with a paid position should be held accountable when they fail to carry out their duties properly. An estate executor is no exception, even if they choose to refuse compensation allowed under Texas law. If you have lost a loved one and disagree with the actions being taken by the named or court-appointed executor of their estate, you have recourse.
I have worked with clients questioning the actions of estate executors in Corpus Christi, South Texas, and The Coastal Bend area for more than 30 years. If you have questions, I am ready to help you find answers. Call me — Russell Manning Attorney at Law — today.
WHAT ARE VALID REASONS
FOR REMOVING AN EXECUTOR?
Texas law includes a range of reasons the court may consider in order to remove an executor from their position, including failure to timely file or meet deadlines, incapacitation, or the development of a conflict of interest. The most prevalent reason for removal is executor misconduct and mismanagement of the estate during the course of their duties.
Examples would include an executor embezzling money or other assets from the estate, or the executor failing to liquidate real property for its full value, thereby lowering the value of the assets of the estate.
The court’s standard in reviewing the actions of the executor is upholding the proper administration of the estate. After all, the executor is a caretaker for the estate until it is settled and should manage its affairs in the best interests of the estate, not themselves.
CAN I TAKE ACTION AGAINST AN EXECUTOR?
The first step you should take is to discuss with the executor the issues you perceive regarding their management of the estate to see if you can reach an agreement about their administration. Texas law allows interested parties to demand a current accounting from the executor of an independent estate at any time after 15 months from the date of testamentary letters.
If communication with the executor fails to yield results, you can petition the court for an order to remove the executor. The court may remove the executor at its own discretion, but if you need to retain an attorney to pursue legal action, attorney’s fees, court costs, and other expenses may be paid out of the estate.
You or any other interested parties would need to prove misconduct on the part of the executor. The court will hold hearings to hear evidence before rendering judgment.
WHO REPLACES A REMOVED EXECUTOR?
If the court removes the executor before the estate is resolved, it may appoint a successor representative or “replacement executor” upon application by an interested party, including any heirs to the estate. The replacement executor maintains all of the rights, duties, and responsibilities held by the original executor. The successor will immediately inventory and appraise the estate, report the information to the court, then proceed with the lawful resolution of the estate.
WORK WITH AN
EXPERIENCED PROBATE ATTORNEY
As a beneficiary to a loved one’s estate, you have a right to expect that the executor is complying with the law and with the wishes of your loved one in the administration of their estate. If you believe the executor is failing in their role, you also have a right to hold them accountable and, if necessary, ask the court to remove them.
The first step in knowing whether an estate is being mismanaged is to understand how it is supposed to be managed. I work with clients regarding estate administration in Corpus Christi, South Texas, The Coastal Bend area, and Bee, Kleberg, Nueces, Live Oak, Jim Wells, Aransas, and Victoria counties. Let me help you find out what is happening with your loved one’s estate and how to remedy any impropriety by the executor.
The value of any estate rises and falls with the executor, so don’t delay. Call me — Russell Manning Attorney at Law — today to schedule a consultation.