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




Hatfield, Michael

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Baylor Law Review


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.



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


59 Baylor L. Rev. 329