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Texas Wills and Probate
PAYMENT OF CERTAIN ESTATES TO STATE

TEXAS ESTATES CODE, TITLE 2. SUBTITLE L. CHAPTER 551. 

PAYMENT OF CERTAIN FUNDS TO STATE

§ 551.001. PAYMENT OF CERTAIN SHARES OF ESTATE TO STATE.

(a) The court, by written order, shall require the executor or administrator of an estate to pay to the comptroller as provided by this subchapter the share of that estate of a person entitled to that share who does not demand the share, including any portion deposited in an account in the court's registry under Section 362.011(c), from the executor or administrator within six months after the date of, as applicable:

(1) a court order approving the report of the commissioners of partition made under Section 360.154; or

(2) the settlement of the final account of the executor or administrator.

(b) This section does not apply to the share of an estate to which a resident minor without a guardian is entitled.

§ 551.002. PAYMENT OF PORTION THAT IS IN MONEY.

The executor or administrator shall pay the portion of the share subject to Section 551.001 that is in money to the comptroller.

§ 551.003. PAYMENT OF PORTION THAT IS NOT IN MONEY.

(a) The court's order under Section 551.001 must require the executor or administrator to:

(1) sell, on terms determined best by the court, the portion of a share subject to that section that is in property other than money; and

(2) on collection of the proceeds of the sale, pay the proceeds to the comptroller.

(b) An action to recover the proceeds of a sale under this section is governed by Subchapter B.

§ 551.004. COMPENSATION TO EXECUTOR OR ADMINISTRATOR.

The executor or administrator is entitled to reasonable compensation for services performed under Section 551.003.

§ 551.005. COMPTROLLER INDISPENSABLE PARTY.

(a) The comptroller is an indispensable party to a judicial or administrative proceeding concerning the disposition and handling of any share of an estate that is or may be payable to the comptroller under Section 551.001.

(b) The clerk of a court that orders an executor or administrator to pay funds to the comptroller under Section 551.001 shall serve on the comptroller, by personal service of citation, a certified copy of the court order not later than the fifth day after the date the order is issued.

§ 551.006. COMPTROLLER'S RECEIPT.

(a) An executor or administrator who pays to the comptroller under this subchapter any funds of the estate represented by the executor or administrator shall:

(1) obtain from the comptroller a receipt for the payment, with official seal attached; and

(2) file the receipt with the clerk of the court that orders the payment.

(b) The court clerk shall record the comptroller's receipt in the judge's probate docket.

RECOVERY OF FUNDS PAID TO STATE

§ 551.051. RECOVERY OF FUNDS.

If funds of an estate have been paid to the comptroller under this chapter, an heir or devisee or an assignee of an heir or devisee may recover the share of the funds to which the heir, devisee, or assignee is entitled.

§ 551.052. ACTION FOR RECOVERY.

(a) A person claiming funds under Section 551.051 must bring an action, on or before the fourth anniversary of the date of the order requiring payment under this chapter to the comptroller, by filing a petition in the district court of Travis County against the comptroller. The petition must set forth:

(1) the plaintiff's right to the funds; and

(2) the amount claimed by the plaintiff.

(b) On the filing of a petition under Subsection (a), the court clerk shall issue a citation for the comptroller to appear and represent the interest of this state in the action. The citation must be served by personal service.

(c) Proceedings in an action brought under this section are governed by the rules applicable to other civil actions.

§ 551.053. JUDGMENT.

(a) If a plaintiff establishes the plaintiff's right to funds claimed under this subchapter, the court shall award a judgment that specifies the amount to which the plaintiff is entitled.

(b) A certified copy of the judgment constitutes sufficient authority for the comptroller to pay the judgment.

§ 551.054. PAYMENT OF COSTS.

The costs of an action brought under this subchapter shall be adjudged against the plaintiff. The plaintiff may be required to secure the costs.

§ 551.055. REPRESENTATION OF COMPTROLLER.

As the comptroller elects and with the approval of the attorney general, the attorney general, the county attorney or criminal district attorney for the county, or the district attorney for the district shall represent the comptroller in an action brought under this subchapter.

PENALTIES; ENFORCEMENT

§ 551.101. LIABILITY OF COURT CLERK; PENALTY.

(a) A court clerk who fails to timely comply with Section 551.005(b) is liable for a $100 penalty.

(b) The penalty under Subsection (a) shall be recovered through an action brought in the name of this state, after personal service of citation, on the information of any resident. Half of the penalty shall be paid to the informer and the other half to this state.

§ 551.102. DAMAGES FOR FAILURE TO MAKE PAYMENTS.

(a) An executor or administrator who fails to pay funds of an estate to the comptroller as required by an order under Section 551.001 on or before the 30th day after the date of the order is liable, after personal service of citation charging that failure and after proof of the failure, for damages. The damages:

(1) accrue at the rate of five percent of the amount of the funds per month for each month or fraction of a month after the 30th day after the date of the order that the executor or administrator fails to make the payment; and

(2) must be paid to the comptroller out of the executor's or administrator's own estate.

(b) Damages under this section may be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction.

§ 551.103. ENFORCEMENT OF PAYMENT AND DAMAGES; RECOVERY ON BOND.

(a) The comptroller may apply in the name of this state to the court that issued an order for the payment of funds of an estate under this chapter to enforce the payment of:

(1) funds the executor or administrator has failed to pay to the comptroller under the order; and

(2) any damages that have accrued under Section 551.102.

(b) The court shall enforce the payment under Subsection (a) in the manner prescribed for enforcement of other payment orders.

(c) In addition to the action under Subsection (a), the comptroller may bring an action in the name of this state against the executor or administrator and the sureties on the executor's or administrator's bond for the recovery of the funds ordered to be paid and any accrued damages.

(d) The county attorney or criminal district attorney for the county, the district attorney for the district, or the attorney general, at the election of the comptroller and with the approval of the attorney general, shall represent the comptroller in all proceedings under this section, and shall also represent the interests of this state in all other matters arising under this code.

Questions?  Call us now to speak with an experienced estate planning and probate attorney. 

 (469) 630-2550