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3 reasons to seek the removal of an estate’s representative

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2024 | Estate Planning

Accepting the role of a personal representative is a big commitment. Estate administration often takes more than a year to complete. The compensation that representatives receive is usually minimal given the amount of work involved.

Much of what they do is for the benefit of the people the decedent selected as beneficiaries. Typically, a personal representative either follows Texas state law or the specific instructions left by the decedent. They usually stay in their role until the completion of the probate process.

Occasionally, the family members of the deceased or the beneficiaries of the estate go to court to ask for the removal of the current representative and their replacement with someone else. What might justify probate litigation intended to replace a representative?

Financial misconduct

Perhaps family members have noticed that assets that belong to the estate have gone missing. Maybe the personal representative hired their spouse’s business to provide certain services to the estate at above-market prices. In scenarios where a personal representative has failed to follow the law or estate instructions, possibly for personal financial gain, it is reasonable and legal for concerned parties to seek their removal in the Texas probate courts.

An inability to fulfill the role

Some people have good intentions but could become incapable of fulfilling their duties as personal representative. They may have some kind of personal medical emergency that renders them incapacitated. They might end up incarcerated due to accusations of breaking the law. Other times, they may leave Texas and become unreachable for weeks. In scenarios where someone is not able or willing to fulfill their duties, beneficiaries can ask the Texas probate courts to replace them.

Improper estate management

There are many ways in which a personal representative could mismanage estate resources. They might fail to secure assets, leading to theft by strangers or family members. They could leave the decedent’s home vacant for long enough that its fair market value drops significantly. They might even make poor choices about how to manage financial investments and other resources. They may have also ignored estate plan documents because of their personal feelings about certain assets or a particular beneficiary. If a personal representative’s choices or failure to act cause a reduction in estate value or violate estate planning instructions, that could warrant their removal from their position.

Taking legal action in probate court to replace a personal representative can potentially help to preserve the legacy of someone who has recently died. Families who recognize when probate litigation is necessary can work to protect their inheritances and the intentions of their deceased loved one.