Judge with gavel and penTexas executors wield immense power. Empowered by order of a Texas probate court, they step into the shoes of the deceased person. They assume total control of the deceased person’s assets. Even the term itself, executor, sounds intimidating. But what happens when executors abuse their power? Sometimes, it’s necessary to remove the fox from the henhouse. Aptly, this legal process is called removal.

Before our heading to our main topic, we should address some basics. Texas wills usually name an executor—the person who will manage a deceased person’s estate after their passing. A probate court officially appoints an executor at the same time the court determines that the will is valid and enforceable. On the other hand, when Texans die without a will, the person who manages their estate is called an administrator. Executors must follow the words of the deceased person’s will. In contrast, administrators must follow the heirship order entered by the probate court. In this series, we will mostly refer to executors to streamline the discussion, but most of the content will also apply to administrators.

You may wish to remove an executor for a number of reasons. Perhaps the executor disappeared on the job by abandoning estate property and ignoring requests. Intoxicated by power, an executor may ignore the terms of the deceased person’s will and decide to distribute estate property according to the executor’s own wishes. And then there’s the most obvious reason—the executor is treating the deceased person’s property like their personal piggy bank and looting estate assets for the executor’s own benefit.

This blog series discusses judicial removal of Texas executors. Our roadmap covers the following areas:

  1. Overview—How to Remove the Executor of an Estate in Texas
  2. The Legal Requirements for When a Texas Executor May Be Removed
  3. How to Begin Removing an Independent Executor in Texas Courts
  4. How to Begin Removal Proceedings in Texas Dependent Administrations
  5. Texas Discovery Rules and Evidence Support Removal of an Executor
  6. Challenges to Consider When Removing a Texas Executor
  7. Series Recap—How to Remove the Executor of an Estate in Texas

In our next post, we discuss the legal requirements that provide a basis of when Texans should consider removing an executor. We will then focus on how the removal process begins. After that, we’ll discuss the evidence and discovery tools that can help you build a removal case against an executor. We’ll then consider some of the challenges and difficulties that may arise when attempting to remove an executor. As we conclude, we’ll provide a summary of key points from this series.

Our Dallas probate attorneys pursue executor removal in the DFW area and across Texas. Our offices also serve Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Denton, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, and Center. Our team of capable trust lawyers regularly helps estate beneficiaries assess whether to seek the removal of an executor, and we also advise executors on avoiding removal. Please contact us today if you have any questions about executor removal.