Sometimes immediate action is necessary to protect a decedent’s property before formal probate proceedings can be handled. For example, when a Will is contested or the beneficiaries or family members of a decedent cannot agree on who should be appointed as an executor or administrator, it may be necessary to ask a court to appoint a temporary administrator to handle the estate.
In this article, we will discuss temporary probate administration in Texas. If you have a situation where quick action is necessary to protect a decedent’s property in the Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, or Pflugerville areas, contact probate lawyer Farren Sheehan to discuss temporary administration in probate.
While Texas law provides for a list of priorities for eligibility to be appointed as a permanent administrator of an estate, the only requirement for appointment of a temporary administrator is that the appointee is a suitable person. In a Will contest, a wholly disinterested person may be preferred as a temporary administrator.
Any interested person may file an application for the appointment of a temporary administrator, including:
- Any others having a property right in, or claim against, the estate being administered
Temporary Administrator’s Power
The powers conferred on a temporary administrator are different than the powers conferred on a permanent administrator under the Texas Estates Code. A temporary administrator is granted only such limited powers as the circumstances of the case require. A temporary administrator may exercise only the rights and powers specifically expressed in the court’s order appointing the temporary administrator, or in the court’s subsequent orders. If a temporary administrator acts outside of the express authorization of the court’s orders, that action is void.
The court’s order appointing a temporary administrator will designate the appointee as “temporary administrator” of the decedent’s estate and specify the period of the appointment. The court order will also define the powers given to the appointee and set the amount of bond to be given by the appointee.
Duration of Temporary Administration
In a Will contest, if a temporary administrator is appointed pending the outcome of the contest relating to probate of a Will, the appointment of a temporary administrator lasts until the contest is terminated and the court appoints a permanent executor or administrator to handle the estate.
In cases other than Will contests where a temporary administrator is appointed, the appointment cannot be longer than 180 days. At the end of the term of temporary appointment, the court can make the appointment permanent if it is in the interest of the estate.
How a Probate Attorney Can Help
Generally, a court will only appoint a temporary administrator if there are no other alternatives. A probate lawyer can review the facts in your case, determine what alternatives there are available to protect your rights as well as the decedent’s property, prepare necessary legal documents, and ensure a sound probate administration.
Sheehan Law, PLLC | Austin, TX Probate Attorneys
Attorney Farren Sheehan in Pflugerville is experienced in all probate and non-probate matters, including temporary administration of the estate. Call Sheehan Law, PLLC at (512) 251-4553 with any questions you have regarding probate issues in Travis County or the Austin area, and we would be happy to set up a consultation to discuss. You can also fill out an our online contact form with your questions.