The Texas probate system is designed for economic and easy administration of estates. In Texas, we have independent administrations, which, in a will, contemplates the appointment of an independent executor chosen by the decedent to serve, without bond, based upon the trust in them by the decedent. An independent administration can also be created by agreement of the parties, upon approval of a court of competent jurisdiction. Independent administrations are easy and desirable because they allow for a personal representative of an estate to, essentially, do what the deceased person could have done during his or her lifetime without answering to any court. The courts actually lose jurisdiction over the estate administration. But, when there is no will and such an agreement cannot be reached by all of those persons interested in an estate, then a dependent administration has to be created with the appointment of an administrator with bond, who serves with court supervision.
All guardianships are dependent administrations and require bonds and court supervision. Trusts are more like independent administrations because they allow the person chosen by the grantor/settlor (person creating the trust) to serve and administer/protect the assets without bond, but based solely upon trust fiduciary duties apply to all of these relationships. For nearly two decades, Spencer & Johnson, PLLC, has been advising executors, administrators, trustees, guardians and other individuals with the management and administration of estates and trusts. With ample experience in suing fiduciaries, we are well acquainted with what is required of an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian and what can get them sued.
We realize that the death of a loved one can be a shock, but is always a heartache. In the midst of mourning your loss, dealing with the challenges related to the decedent’s debts, property or business and, later, distributing property and assets to family members can be overwhelming. The same is true of a trust and guardianship, even though a death may not have occurred, making sure you have performed your duties as a trustee or guardian can be stressful. Our estate, trust and guardianship administration attorneys will work closely with you to help ensure that you properly perform your duties.