Lockhart v. Chisos Minerals, LLC, 621 S.W.3d 89 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2021, pet. filed).

Estate Administration

Executor Powers

A parcel of the decedent’s property passed via the residuary clause of his will to an inter vivos trust. The same person was named as the executor of the estate and the trustee of the trust. This person conveyed the property. A dispute arose over whether this conveyance was effective. Both the trial and appellate court held that the conveyance was valid.

The person who made the conveyance claimed that it was ineffective for several reasons. First, she successfully argued she did not convey the property in her capacity as a trustee because she did not sign the deeds in her trustee capacity. However, she did sign the deeds in her capacity as the executor. Because the property was part of the decedent’s estate and subject to administration, she had the capacity and authority to sell the property. This conclusion was supported by the terms of the will which granted her the power of sale and the powers of a trustee under the Texas Trust Code which includes the power to sell in Property Code § 113.010.

Moral:  Once an executor with the power to sell property makes a valid sale, it will be difficult for the executor to claim later that the sale was invalid.