Trust Administration

Trust Administration

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 & Harvell, 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.


Based in North Texas, our estate and trust litigation law firm is a premier legal resource for individuals throughout the State of Texas, who are dealing with complicated legal family and financial matters.

It is important to remember that this legal process follows a strict timeline. You must act quickly to assert your rights. Contact Spencer, Johnson & Harvell, PLLC for an experienced Dallas attorney who can explain the process and educate you on what must be done if you have missed a deadline.

As an individual who has been appointed to administer an estate or named as a trustee or appointed as a guardian, you must comply with strict guidelines in order to avoid fiduciary liability. This can be difficult to do, especially if you do not completely understand your duties as an executor, trustee or guardian.

Founder R. Kevin Spencer and our team can help executors, administrators, trustees and guardians:
  • Understand responsibilities for estate, guardianship, and trust administration
  • Advise and counsel how to avoid fiduciary litigation regarding the distribution of assets, improperly protecting assets, accounting issues, untimely asset/property distribution, etc.
  • Prepare accurate and statutory accountings in all capacities
  • Address creditor issues prior to administering inheritance
We can also seek the appointment of a temporary administrator or temporary guardian in the event that a sudden accident or death has occurred and immediate attention is needed. If the decedent’s property or a ward or his property is exposed to risk and the usual due process of obtaining an appointment of a personal representative or guardian cannot be done quickly enough, then in such an emergency call of the due process can be hastened in the best interest of the estate or ward. In such event, a true emergency must exist and all due process must be done in a short amount of time. Likewise, if obtained, it is not a substitute for a permanent administration. Temporary administrations last for a brief period to protect estates and wards from risk, while the normal due process is obtained. Temporary administrations are technical and require an attorney experienced in probate and guardianships to venture through the technicalities and obtain the quick relief you need.

We can also help you petition the court in order to construe a will or trust document to determine its meaning or application or to modify a trust if the terms have become unworkable or uneconomical or an event has occurred that the grantor/settlor (the person creating the trust) did not or could not have foreseen at the time the trust was created.


If your loved one has died unexpectedly and has left an emergency situation, like a business to run or other unresolved matters unresolved that need immediate attention, Spencer, Johnson & Harvell, PLLC, can help you. Contact us today regarding emergency temporary administration of an estate or trust.


The largest misconception about a will is that it is binding when signed, which could not be further from the truth. A will is not even binding when a person dies. It is not until it has been offered for probate, deemed valid by a court of competent jurisdiction, and found to be the valid last will and testament of the decedent that it becomes binding in the world. If the will names an executor, and that person is qualified to serve, then the court will appoint an executor at the time the will is admitted to probate. This is a pretty simple procedure, if uncontested, and is the reason that everyone in Texas should have a will.

For those who do not have a will, the procedure is a little different because it requires the court to find and determine who all the heirs are under the statutory scheme in Texas and then to make an order declaring that certain persons are the heirs and only heirs of the decedent.

Spencer, Johnson & Harvell, PLLC, has offered qualified legal advice and guidance to individuals and families seeking estate assistance for nearly 20 years. We can help you probate your will, as well as seek determination of heirship.


  • Work with you to find out the information necessary to prepare and file an application to probate a decedent’s will.
  • Obtain from you the information needed to list the heirs of a decedent and to determine their relationship to the decedent and how much they are entitled to,  if anything.
  • Pursue all viable legal remedies as a beneficiary or heir that you are entitled to under the law.
  • Learn about how our lawyers at Spencer & Johnson, PLLC, handle will contests and disputes.

Dallas Probate Attorneys

(214) 965-9999

Spencer, Johnson & Harvell, PLLC, invites you to contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your estate and trust matters.

We are located in Dallas, but we travel throughout Texas to serve our clients. Ask us about our hourly and contingency fees.

Contact Us

For excellent and caring representation at reasonable rates, contact us today.

Fill out my online form.

We care about protecting your data. Read our Privacy Policy.