Estate Administration


Suit Against “Executor”

Waste Disposal Center, Inc. v. Larson, 74 S.W.3d 578 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2002, pet. denied).


Plaintiffs sued “the Estate of Decedent.” Estate appeared and participated in the case. At the end of the trial, Estate obtained a directed verdict on jurisdictional grounds because the estate of a deceased person is not a legal entity. Plaintiffs appealed.

The appellate court affirmed. The court began its analysis by explaining that an estate is not a legal entity which is capable of being sued. This defect is a matter of fundamental jurisdiction which cannot be waived because no one is named as a defendant and thus there is no one to waive the defect. Estate’s appearance and participation in the case was irrelevant because Plaintiffs did not sue by name or serve the personal representative of the estate. No estoppel to assert lack of jurisdiction arose because the personal representative did not appear or participate in the lawsuit.

Moral: A plaintiff should sue the personal representative of a decedent, not the decedent’s estate.