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What is considered a conflict of interest?

Houston, TX |

My grandpa died a yr a go and he had inherited about 20 rental homes from his boss about 7 yrs ago. He died with no will so we are in understanding that my grandma recieves 1/3 and the other 2/3 is split between the 3 sons 1 of which is my dad who died consequenly leaving his share to me and m 2 brothers. There are quite a few homes that cannot b rented bcuz of different reasons so I am unemployed right now and I asked if I could live in 1 and the lawyers said its a conflict of interest. We are going through alot of bumps right now with the courts bcuz there sre lots of taxes owed on the properties. I am afraid that my uncle which is co executor doesnt have our best interest at heart wht should I do and what right do I have to live in 1 of the houses?

Attorney Answers 3


This sounds like a complicated estate and a long administration. One possibility is that there can be partial distributions made during administration and YOUR share could be in the form of one of the properties. But this may not be able to happen, right away. The executor needs to make sure that there are enough assets retained as a reserve to cover all foreseeable administrative expenses.

If you believe the executor is acting improperly, (and you can prove it), then you need to hire an attorney to assist you in trying to remove him. I would not do this unless you are absolutely convinced there is wrongdoing. The reasons for this are: 1) it will only add to the expense and the time required to probate the estate; and 2) it will not only affect your future relationship with the executor, but probably your other relatives as well. It will probably result in different people jumping into the fray to either defend or attack your uncle. This will not improve family unity NOR will it help the estate to be administered more quickly.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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There are a few things you could consider if you hired an attorney. For example, you can seek an accounting to if the executor served as a power of attorney prior to your grandfather's death. There also may be an issue of whether or not your grandmother needs a guardianship. This stuff can get complicated.


Eric Dick, LL.M.
832-207-2007 - Office
713-498-7969 - Cellular


Mr. Dick is licensed to practice law in Texas and his office located in Harris County. Mr. Dick primarily practices family law in Harris County and nearby counties and offers free consultations.

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Your question is difficult to answer, because the answer depends on a review of certain documents and the need for further information that you may not have. In order to make an informed decision about what to do, you should set an appointment with a probate attorney to review the assets of the estate. You should provide the attorney with a list of the homes, including any debts or taxes owed on the homes, as well as a print-out about the homes from the Harris County Appraisal District.

You should know that real estate, and in particular, rental properties, can make a probate quite difficult, especially if there are unpaid taxes as indicated by you.

Whether your uncle has your interests at heart depends on a lot of facts. You need to be very sure that you have the facts to show misconduct before you contend that he engaged in misconduct. If cannot backup with the contention, then you increase the likelihood that the probate will take longer, cost more money to complete, and it will hurt your relationship with your uncle if you turn out to be wrong. Being an executor is more difficult than it appears.

The fact that you are unemployed is not a reason for you to be able to live in one of the homes, and it could increase the cost of the probate if the home has to be sold and refuse to leave. The better course would be to figure out what is the value of the estate that you should receive, and then figure out if there is a home close in value to what you should receive, and then see if you, the executor, and the other heirs can reach an agreement on which home you might receive. Once an agreement is reached, then you can move into the home.

The comment provided above is intended as general information and IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. If your question concerns Estate Planning, Trusts, Elder Law, Probate, Trust Adminstration, Guardianship, Litigation, or Real Estate, and is governed by the laws of the State of Texas, then you might wish to contact our firm, which is The Mendel Law Firm, L.P., 1155 Dairy Ashford, Suite 104, Houston, TX 77079, O: 281-759-3213, F: 281-759-3214, Stephen A. Mendel is licensed by the State Bar of Texas.

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