Court finds designated executor unsuitable

In Gossett v. Beck, the Dallas Court of Appeals upheld the probate court's determination that an indepedent executrix designated in a will was unsuitable and therefore disqualified to serve.  The basis of the probate court's decision was a deed from the decedent to the proposed executrix of a house worth $850,000 for apparently no consideration.  Furthermore, the transfer was accomplished via a power of attorney. This sort of transaction sets off immediate alarms because of 1) a transfer via a power of a attorney; and 2) for no apparent valuable consideration in return. Another beneficiary claimed that the proposed executrix was unsuitable because of an inherent conflict of interest.  If the deed to the house was set aside, the house would become property of the estate.  However, the proposed executrix would obviously have no incentive to sue herself to recover the house on behalf of the estate. The probate court agreed and found that the proposed executrix was unsuitable to serve due to the inherent conflict of interest.  The court of appeals affirmed that decision, noting that a probate court has broad discretion in determining whether an individual is suitable to serve as an executor or administrator. Furthermore, one whose personal interests are adverse to those of the estate is not a proper person to administer the estate if they cannot meaningful advance the interests of the estate.