Pro Se Executors - Unauthorized Practice of Law, or Not?

Date

2007

Authors

Hatfield, Michael

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Baylor Law Review

Abstract

This Article clarifies why under Texas law an individual named as executor in a will has the right to offer the will for probate and otherwise appear in a probate court without hiring a lawyer. This Article first provides an overview of the independent administration provision of the Texas probate code before reviewing the unauthorized practice of law prohibition and the pro se exception. After establishing that executors qualify for the pro se exception in Texas because executors appearing in court are exercising their own management rights—rather than the rights of “the estate” or the beneficiaries—the Article explores suggestions of court reform to be considered in light of those pro se rights. The Article concludes with the suggestion that it is probably unwise for most executors to proceed pro se regardless of their right to do so.

Description

Keywords

Probate court, Individual executor, Texas probate code, Unauthorized practice of law, Pro se exception, Professional responsibility, Fiduciary

Citation

59 Baylor L. Rev. 329