Gossett v. Back, No. 05-13-00283-CV, 2014 WL 3828217 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2014, no pet.).

Estate Administration

Personal Representative Qualification


The trial court determined that the named executor as disqualified from serving due to several conflicts of interest.  For example, in her capacity as the decedent’s agent, she had transferred property to herself which may have been a breach of her fiduciary duties.  If she were appointed as the executor, she would then have to sue herself to set aside the transfer.  The named executor appealed.


The appellate court affirmed.  The court explained that as long as there is more than a scintilla of evidence supporting the trial court’s finding, the named executor’s no-evidence challenge must fail.  The court then examined the facts and determined that there was more than enough evidence to support the trial court’s finding that the named executor was unsuitable under Probate Code § 78(e) [recodified as Estates Code § 304.003(5)].


Moral:  A person deemed unsuitable to serve as a personal representative will have a difficult time overturning that finding on appeal as long as there is at least a scintilla of evidence supporting the trial court’s determination.