An Executor Can be Removed for a Conflict of Interest
Back in June of 2009, I posted about a Texas Supreme Court case regarding the removal of an executor. In that case, Kappus v. Kappus, the Texas Supreme Court held that an alleged conflict of interest was not a sufficient ground to remove an executor. The Texas Legislature responded in 2011 by amending Section 149C of the Texas Probate Code. 149C(7) now specifically provides that an independent executor can be removed due to a material conflict of interest. Certainly, what is or isn't a "material conflict" is open to interpretation. However, in my opinion, this amendment provides additional safeguards for estate beneficiaries who are concerned that an executor is not properly performing their duties as a fiduciary. Often, the independent executor has the beneficiary of legal counsel, but the beneficiaries do not. If beneficiaries have concerns regarding the actions or motivations of an executor, they should consult a lawyer experienced in handling estate disputes.