Estate Planning For Peace Of Mind

As an executor, should you worry that people want you removed?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Probate and Estate Administration |

Being the executor (or personal representative, as it’s known in Texas) of an estate can be a thankless and difficult job. That is true whether you were designated by the deceased in their estate plan or appointed by a probate judge.

You may have to deal with family members who are sure their loved one meant for them to have more than the will or other document states. You may have beneficiaries trying to tell you how to do your job, pushing you to hurry things along or interfering where they shouldn’t. It can be even more difficult when they’re also your family.

It can be especially disconcerting to have someone threatening to have you removed from your role and replaced with someone else. It’s important to remember, however, that getting a personal representative removed (or even petitioning to do so) isn’t as easy as many people think. There need to be solid grounds and evidence for doing so, based on state probate law.

Grounds for removing a personal representative in Texas

A beneficiary can petition to have a probate judge remove an executor (or a judge may do it themselves) for any of the following reasons:

  • They’re guilty of “gross misconduct or mismanagement in the performance of any duties.”
  • They’ve “misapplied, embezzled, or removed [estate property] from the state.”
  • They’ve failed to comply with a court order.
  • They’re “incapable of properly performing any duties of trust.”

A personal representative may also be removed if they have failed to settle the estate after three years – unless, of course, the court has granted an extension.

Basically, as long as you’re fulfilling your fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries, there’s likely little that family and others can do to remove you. They can, however, make your job more difficult. Having sound legal guidance as you settle an estate can help you ensure that you’re successful in handling the crucial responsibility you’ve been given.