An executor is the person who is named in a will as being responsible for managing the estate. Some people in Texas may find themselves in a situation in which they think an executor should be removed.
Who has standing?
An executor cannot be challenged by just anyone. The person or people who make the challenge must have what is known as “standing.” This means that they are named in the will or that under state law, they would have inherited assets if no will had been made. The people in the latter category are generally a spouse or immediate family member. Creditors may also be considered to have standing.
What are the grounds?
Conflict of interest is one reason to remove an executor. Being a beneficiary is not considered a conflict of interest. Instead, this refers to something that makes it impossible for an executor to maintain what is known as their fiduciary duty or their obligation to administer the estate in a way that is legal and ethical. Mismanagement of assets or ignoring or defying court orders may result in an executor being found incompetent or guilty of misconduct. Challenging the executor involves a written filing to the court, the executor and all interested parties. If a judge agrees, the executor will be replaced by a second choice named in the will or by a court-appointed one.
An executor is not required to be an expert in legal and financial matters. In fact, an executor can hire an attorney and other professionals if necessary to assist in the process of probate and other elements of estate administration. Those professionals can be paid for out of the estate. This can be helpful since estate administration can be a complex process that involves determining the value of assets and filing tax returns among other duties.