Can an Executor Refuse to Sell a House?

As the executor of an estate, you bear a weighty responsibility, charged with carrying out the deceased’s wishes and meeting legal obligations according to Texas law. For many newcomers to this role, it’s a sudden realization of both moral and legal duties. Beneficiaries entrust executors to handle their responsibilities with diligence and care, as outlined in the will. However, instances arise where executors fall short of expectations, prompting questions like how long an executor has to sell a house.

In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will discuss what happens when the executor of an estate purposely fails to follow through with their obligations under the will. It could be that this person disagrees with how the deceased has written the choice to distribute property to various beneficiaries at the expense of others. Forward, they may have plans to try and do something even worse with the property in the estate, such as stealing it. Whatever the case may be, today’s blog post will shed some light on what you can do you find yourself in a situation where the executor of a loved one’s will is not honoring they are moral in legal commitment to execute under the terms of choice.

What is the role of an executor about a will?

Before we go any further, this would seem to be a relevant question to answer. A will is the primary estate planning document you or I could create for ourselves. Drafting a will enables us to communicate our final wishes regarding the distribution of our property. In my opinion, every person over the age of 18 should have a will. Whether you own a lot of property or not, this is the case. I will give instructions to your family and, specifically to an executor, on how to execute your wishes after your passing. This way, your family will not have any questions about proceeding and can concern themselves with remembering you.

Within the will, you will appoint someone to act as the executor. That is what we are here to discuss today. The executor of a will oversees filing the will for probate if necessary, distributing property to beneficiaries, and paying creditors if your loved one owes money to anyone. These financial and legal obligations can be significant depending upon the person’s will in question. If you’ve accepted the role of executor in your loved one’s estate planning, it’s crucial to understand your responsibilities in the process and how to navigate them effectively upon their passing.

Assuming the validity of your loved one’s will, this document should provide the executor with all the necessary information to settle the estate, distribute property, and pay creditors. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is key to ensuring a valid will that is unlikely to be contested or misconstrued in court. An attorney can assist in determining the most suitable planning methods for your circumstances and ensuring that the language within the will is clear and unambiguous, thus minimizing the risk of challenges. This consultation with the attorney is available free of charge through their app.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan can position you to know that you will be drafted correctly. Alternatively, suppose you have accepted a position as executor of another person’s will and want to learn more about the probate process. In that case, one of our attorneys can also discuss matters like this with you.

All of this probably seems relatively straightforward at this point. I have laid out for your linear circumstances in terms of having a well-drafted, court determined that the will is valid and then not having any issues with the distribution of property or the paying off creditors. However, as we all know, sometimes life throws us a curveball, and our best-laid plans do not go as we had hoped.

Executor Responsibilities: What If the Will Isn’t Followed?

This is where we can get into a discussion about what happens if your loved one’s executor does not follow the will precisely. In the title of today’s blog post, I offered up the question of what would happen if the executor of the will refuses to sell a home. However, the issue of property not being sold or distributed correctly can extend beyond homes or large items. Issues may arise during the process of distributing property or paying creditors, even if you opt for probate or if it becomes necessary.

Watching from the outside can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you expect to inherit property through the will. Just imagine counting on the assurance that a home would be passed down to you. If you have children and need a residence, your loved ones passing may have been full of a silver lining on the dark cloud, given the assurance that this house would come along with the process. To find that the executor of your loved ones’ will is refusing to abide by their legal obligation to fulfill your loved one’s wishes can not only be frustrating but also damaging to your family.

In such a scenario, you cannot passively wait for someone else to protect your rights. I have witnessed cases where executors failing to fulfill their duty in executing a deceased person’s wishes have caused significant delays in settling an estate. Do not let your family become entangled in such situations. Instead, empower yourself by learning from resources like this blog post and seeking guidance from experienced probate and estate planning attorneys on how to safeguard your rights.

An executor is a fiduciary

A fiduciary is a legal term that refers to the obligation to put another person’s interests ahead of your own. This is the highest legal obligation a person can have in our country. There is nothing wrong with acting in a self-interested manner. Every day, whether we know it or not, we operate in an intended way to benefit ourselves. However, once you accept the role of fiduciary all those changes. An executor is a perfect example of a fiduciary and what a fiduciary is supposed to be.

Under Texas law, the executor of a will must act in the best interest of the deceased person’s estate and beneficiaries. This is combined with their obligation to follow the directives contained in the choice. If the fiduciary chooses not to follow the terms of a will, they are violating their responsibility under the will and breaking the law. If you or any other person has an interest under the choice as a beneficiary, then you have legal standing to challenge their actions in court.

Filing a petition with the probate court

If you believe that the executor of a loved one will not be following the directives contained in the document, you have the right, and some would argue the obligation to take legal action. If the will is already going through probate, you will need to petition the probate court. A petition is simply the legal method of bringing to the court’s attention that you ask them to do something on your behalf. Intervening into an ongoing probate case is done frequently and can be assisted by an experienced estate planning or probate attorney.

On the other hand, if the will was not being probated and the executor refused to abide by the terms of choice on their own accord, you can still petition the court. However, now you would be demanding the court to administer your loved one’s estate. To do this, you would need to consider two different ways to handle a circumstance involving an executor who refuses to follow the terms of a will.

The first would be to ask the court to require the executor to fulfill their duties under the will. As a beneficiary under the choice, you have the standing to ask the court to do this. With a new petition, you can ask the court to require the executor to do something or refrain from doing something specific. The estate’s executor may have started on the right foot but is now dragging their feet and not completing the final steps in the settling process of the estate. The executor may have a reason for not moving forward as quickly as you would like. By filing a petition with the probate court, you are providing them with the opportunity to state their case to a judge. However, absent an excellent reason, they will be required to move forward with completing the probate process.

Alternatively, you can collaborate with the court to remove the executor from that role. Even if the will does not name a backup executor, you, as a beneficiary, can petition the court to remove the executor. Texas law specifies several reasons for which an executor can be removed. As an essential requirement, you must show that the executor is not or cannot fulfill their most basic legal responsibilities. Namely, if you have evidence that this executor is not willing or able to act as a fiduciary, then you will be in good shape. Proof that they have tried to steal money from the estate or otherwise work correctly, Woodley is an excellent place to start.

Without a doubt, it is more dramatic to have an executor removed from their role rather than to have them order to pursue settling the estate. In some circumstances, however, simply calling an executor to follow through with their responsibilities will not be possible. This is especially true if there is evidence of misconduct. Not understanding how to proceed is one thing period, however, when you have discovered purposeful Bad Axe on the part of an executor, then that is a different subject altogether. Remember, the legacy of your loved one and the promised property hang in the balance if you choose not to act.

In what ways can a probate attorney help you when it comes to an ineffective executor?

All this information is good and well, but if you cannot take the information presented to you and use it to help yourself, then what good is the information in the first place? Instead, allow me to walk you through how simple probate again that can help turn you to eliminate the worry of an ineffective or ill-intentioned executor. Hiring an attorney cannot solve all your problems in and of itself. However, when you have no place left to turn in are concerned about the well-being of yourself, your fellow beneficiaries, and the estate of your loved one, then an attorney can certainly help you.

Analyzing Your Probate Case: The Role of an Experienced Attorney

The first thing that an experienced probate attorney can do is perform an analysis of your case. Bear in mind that your attorney will have the singular focus of looking at your claim with your best intentions in mind. As a result, their analysis will be thorough and based on their year experience events. Remember that even a well-intentioned person like yourself may miss essential factors in a case simply because you do not have the experience to analyze them as an attorney would.

This may cause problems for you and your family, but it is not necessary to leave it to chance as far as reviewing the circumstances of the case. Instead, by working with an experienced family law attorney, you avail yourself to that attorney’s experienced hand. You can rest easier knowing that the attorney will be able to work with you to perform a thorough examination of your circumstances.

I can safely assume that you have questions about the subject matter contained in today’s blog post. Otherwise, why would you be spending a good chunk of your day reading A blog post that has nothing to do with you or your circumstances? No matter how detailed I am in today’s blog post or how clear I am in the language that I use, there is no way that I will be able to answer your specific questions. The reason being is that I don’t know exactly what is going on in your life. With that said, one of our attorneys can assist you in a free-of-charge consultation to discuss your issues and determine the necessary steps to take at this time.

Assessing Executor Actions: How Attorneys Navigate Probate Challenges

Next, our attorneys can help you investigate the actions of the executor of your loved ones to determine if any wrongdoing has occurred. We have seen that the range of outcomes for this type of analysis can be dramatic. You may be dealing with a person who doesn’t know what they’re doing and need a push to get going on the right track. Alternatively, you may encounter a situation where a person with malicious intent takes advantage of your loved ones. Either way, our attorneys can help guide you regardless of what is happening with the estate.

Finally, our attorneys are ready to go to court, if needed, to safeguard your interests as a beneficiary. In some cases, going to probate court may be the optimal or sole option based on your situation. Before going to court, it’s crucial to explore all other options and make sure that you and your family are ready for the next steps. With the guidance of an experienced family law attorney, you can gain peace of mind and enhance the chances of achieving a favorable outcome in court.


Serving as the executor of an estate entails fulfilling both moral and legal duties, including the timely execution of the deceased’s wishes. In Texas, executors must adhere to legal obligations, prompting questions such as “how long does an executor have to sell a house?” Executors must navigate these responsibilities diligently, ensuring they meet deadlines and fulfill their duties with care and responsibility as specified in the will. However, challenges may arise, underscoring the importance of understanding the executor’s role thoroughly and seeking guidance when necessary to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Questions about the material presented in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material presented in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed probate in estate planning attorneys offers free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. During these consultations, you gain valuable insights into Texas estate planning and probate law, as well as how the filing of a will or other probate-related matter may impact your family’s circumstances.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore
  1. Securing Your Legacy: Why Drafting a Will is Vital for Your Estate
  2. Probate vs Trust Administration: Which is right for you?
  3. Mastering Estate Planning in Texas for Non-U.S. Citizens
  4. Executor Duties in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide
  5. How To Choose the Right Executor For Your Texas Estate
  6. Understanding the Role of the Executor in Texas Probate
  7. The Basics of Texas Probate: A Guide for Executors and Heirs
  8. How many certified letters testamentary should you order as the executor of an estate?
  9. Can an executor take everything?
  10. Can an executor do whatever they want?

Frequently Asked Questions

Categories: Uncategorized

Share this article