Independent Administration Of A Texas Estate

Texas estates are settled in two ways. In a dependent administration, the executor or representative must get court approval for most actions and report regularly to the probate judge. In an independent administration, the executor/representative is given more authority and autonomy to carry out his or her duties.

From the perspective of the executor, independent administration is preferable to being "micromanaged" by the court. It is generally quicker, with fewer hassles and court appearances. However, there may be statutory reasons or practical reasons for a judge to dictate dependent administration.

The Harlingen attorneys of McCullough & McCullough have extensive experience in estate administration and estate planning in South Texas. We would be glad to explain independent administration and advocate for you in these proceedings. Call 956-320-1320 to arrange a consultation.

Independent Administration Vs. Dependent Administration

The essential difference is the level of oversight by the probate court. An independent administrator is not closely supervised by the court and does not need preapproval for transactions such as selling property. With this freedom comes a high level of responsibility. It is very important to work closely with an attorney to avoid costly mistakes or breach of fiduciary duty.

In Texas, the court can grant independent administration if:

  • The deceased specified it in his or her will, or
  • The will did not indicate but all beneficiaries agree to an independent administrator.

Should a person die without a will, the estate is divided according to the Texas laws of intestacy and the court defaults to a dependent administration. The judge may also require dependent administration (or override independent administration) if there is a concern that the executor is not competent or trustworthy. Our lawyers have successfully petitioned for — and successfully argued against — independent administration.

Knowledgeable Help For A Complex Process

McCullough & McCullough has served Cameron County and the Rio Grande Valley since 1945. In addition to representing local residents, we regularly counsel out-of-state executors who need help settling a South Texas estate. Contact us today to discuss our services.