A personal representative is an individual who is appointed to manage a probate estate. If a person does not have a will that appoints someone to this position (or the person nominated in the will is unwilling or incapable to serve), the court chooses an individual to serve as the personal representative. In most cases, a family member petitions to court to serve as the estate’s administrator.
However, what happens if the family members or other interested parties believe the removal of the personal representative is necessary? In most cases, seeking the advice of an experienced Texas estate-planning lawyer is the best choice if that person needs to be removed from an estate.
Removing a Personal Representative in Texas
Removing a personal representative is uncommon, but it does happen occasionally. Therefore, there is a procedure for petitioning the court to revoke Letters of Administration and remove them from adminsitrating the estate.
The removal process begins with filing a petition or removal. An heir or interested party must file the petition with the probate court and serve a copy of the petition. The probate court schedules a hearing date and time to hear the matter. Both parties may present evidence and testimony supporting their positions at the hearing.
If the court orders the removal, the successor personal representative named in the will is typically appointed to serve. However, if the will does not name an alternate, the court may choose another person to serve as the personal representative for the estate. In many cases, the successor administrator is a family member or other interested party.
Depending on the situation, the court could also choose an independent, professional person to serve as the personal representative if the court deems that choice would be in the best interest of the heirs of the estate.
Reasons for the Removal of a Personal Representative in Texas
There are numerous reasons why a court may remove a personal representative from serving. Common reasons include fraud, misuse of power, or neglect of duties. Examples of reasons why an heir or other interested party may want to discuss a petition for removal with an attorney include:
- Failing to post a bond, if the court or the will requires a bond;
- Leaving the state of Texas for three consecutive months or more without approval from the court;
- Failing to prepare and file required estate documents, such as an inventory, accounting, or other estate form, within the time limits for deadlines;
- Misusing or embezzling money from the estate;
- Removing property from the state of Texas without court approval;
- Mismanagement or gross misconduct in the performance of duties.
- Failing to distribute assets to heirs as ordered by the court;
- Failing to provide required notices to heirs;
- Cannot perform his or her duties because of incapacitation or another reason;
- Conviction of a felony crime; or,
- Has a conflict of interest that interferes with the administration of the estate.
In some cases, a court may remove the appointee if the relationship between that person and the heirs is preventing the personal representative from discharging his or her duties as required by law.
Contact a Texas Estate-Planning Attorney for More Information
It can be difficult to remove a personal representative without evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing. Contact the Law Office of Carey Thompson today. A Texas estate-planning attorney can evaluate the matter and explain your legal rights and options so that you can decide the best way to protect your interests and the estate.