In re Estate of Stone, 475 S.W.3d 370 (Tex. App.—Waco 2014, pet. denied).

Estate Administration

Sale of Estate Property


Dependent Administratrix found two potential purchasers for estate property. The court confirmed the second offer which was financially a better deal for the estate. The person who made the first offer two years earlier claimed the trial court’s approval of the second offer was improper and appealed.


The appellate court affirmed. The court reviewed the procedure Administratrix and the trial court followed and found that the procedure was in full compliance with the applicable statutory provisions. The court then examined the court’s decision to confirm the second offer and held that the trial court’s action was not an abuse of discretion. In fact, the second offer was a considerably better contract for the estate – the purchaser offered a higher price for just the surface rights than the first potential purchaser offered for both the surface and mineral rights.


The court rejected the argument that the first purchaser should prevail because had Administratrix timely filed a request within 30 days for the court to confirm the sale as required by the statute, the court would have done so because the offered price was fair at that time. The court explained that it is unknown whether an expert would have been hired to determine that the offered price for both the surface and mineral interests was not actually fair to the estate. After examining additional evidence, the court determined that was no showing that the first purchaser was injured or disadvantaged by Administratrix’s failure to file the report of sale within 30 days.


The first purchaser also claimed that Administratrix was not following the terms of the will in disposing of estate property. The court disposed of this argument in short order by explaining the first purchaser lacked standing to complain about the Administratrix’s conduct.


Moral:  A potential purchaser of estate property from a dependent personal representative needs to avoid relying on the sale as a fait accompli until the court actually confirms the sale.