Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Can a Texas beneficiary sue an estate’s executor?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | probate administration

For beneficiaries, they are entitled to bequests as part of a deceased person’s estate, but not all executors do what they are supposed to do. In Texas, beneficiaries hold the right to pursue legal action against an estate’s executor if they perceive a violation of their rights. Let us delve into the circumstances under which beneficiaries can initiate a lawsuit against an executor and the procedural aspects involved.

Breach of fiduciary duty

Beneficiaries may opt for legal recourse against an executor for various reasons, but one of the most common causes of action are based on a breach of fiduciary duty. Executors are bound by law to prioritize the estate and its beneficiaries’ interests. If an executor exploits estate assets for personal gain, beneficiaries reserve the right to take legal action. Any perceived deviation from this duty can lead to legal action.

Asset mismanagement

Another reason that a beneficiary would sue an executor is the mismanagement of the estate’s assets. Instances where an executor’s mishandling of estate assets results in losses or depreciation may warrant a lawsuit. Executors could also face litigation if they unreasonably prolong or neglect asset distribution as per the will’s stipulations.

Accounting failures

Yet another cause of action can be based on the executor’s accounting failures. Executors must maintain meticulous records and provide regular updates to beneficiaries.

Legal proceedings in Texas

The legal process of suing an executor in Texas commences with the submission of a formal complaint to the appropriate probate court. Next, serving the executor because they must receive legal notification of the lawsuit following the filing.

After pre-trial motions, there will be court proceedings in the probate court. Both parties present evidence and arguments, which culminate in a court decision. That decision may involve the removal of the executor, compensation orders or exoneration from any alleged wrongdoing.


While beneficiaries possess the right to litigate against an executor in Texas, it is a multifaceted legal journey demanding a profound comprehension of probate laws and executor responsibilities. If concerns arise regarding an executor’s conduct, it is imperative to understand your entitlements and the legal channels accessible.