Should You Sue an Executor in Texas?
Shutt Law Firm handles Will contests and trust disputes in Texas. Sometimes legal disputes over an estate or trust don’t involve the actual Last Will and Testament or Trust. Rather, some estate disputes relate to the actions of an executor, estate administrator, or trustee. These are the people who handle the administration of the estate or trust, including resolution of the estate’s debts, resolution of taxes, the sale of estate assets, the management of the estate assets, and the distribution of estate assets to the beneficiaries. If you are a beneficiary of a trust or estate, here are some things to keep in mind regarding whether or not you should sue an executor in Texas: .
1. It Can Be Expensive to Sue an Executor
Although there’s no way to predict just how expensive it will be to sue an executor or administrator, it probably won’t be free. It’s legally possible to act as your own lawyer in suing an executor, but your odds of success are greatly diminished. As with other kinds of lawsuits, a probate lawyer with estate litigation experience will drastically improve your likelihood of success in the courtroom. If you don’t have the money to sue an executor, don’t let that stop you from consulting with a probate lawyer. You may be able get attorney’s fees from the estate. Also, you may be able to pay your attorney with a contingency fee (if you don’t win, the probate lawyer doesn’t collect a fee–if the lawyer helps you win your case, then the lawyer gets a percentage of what you collect).
2. It Can Take a Long Time to Sue an Executor
As with most lawsuits, suing an executor, trustee or administrator can take months or even years. At our law office, we’ve had multiple cases that took years to finally complete. It’s not that we’re slow (we pride ourselves as being quick). It’s just that, as the saying goes, “the wheels of justice don’t always turn as quickly as we’d like.” There may be several court hearings, litigation discovery, mediation, depositions, and a trial. All of these things take time.
3. The Payoff Could Be BIG. Really Big.
In a recent case, the heirs to a large estate sued JPMorgan, who was acting as administrator of the large estate. You can read all about the case here and here. In short, in this case, a jury awarded more than $4 Billion in damages from the administrator of the estate. The jury found that the administrator had done several things wrong while acting as administrator. In this particular case, the attorney’s fees for the heirs could be $5 million or more. While that’s a lot of money, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount the heirs hope to collect from the sued administrator.
If you suspect that an executor, administrator or trustee has mishandled an estate in some way, don’t wait. Contact a probate lawyer to see if it would be worthwhile in your particular case to sue an executor. Some probate lawyers will offer a free consultation, and it may be well worth your time to at least have your case evaluated.
To ask a legal question or get legal help from and Texas Wills and Probate lawyers Isaac Shutt and Peter Hall, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the law office in person, the attorneys will gladly offer a free consultation.
Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, and just south of Plano, TX. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, Texas.
You can also call Mr. Shutt or Mr. Hall at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter.
Please consider the Shutt Law Firm for probate in Texas, Texas Last Will and Testaments, estate litigation, fiduciary litigation, trust disputes, or you need Richardson probate lawyers serving Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Denton, TX, Collin County, Tarrant County, or surrounding North Texas area.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and and an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.
By Isaac Shutt