November 1958

BANK AS EXECUTOR UNDER RECIPROCAL WILLS—Whether there would be a conflict of interest of a bank appointed executor of both estates in reciprocal wills of husband and wife, where the remainders after life estates to the surviving spouse were to go to different persons, presents a question outside the scope of the Canons and the jurisdiction of the committee.


An elderly couple left reciprocal wills leaving their individual half of their total estate to the other for life, with the remainder of the husband's estate to go his three nieces and the remainder of the wife's estate to go to her sister. Both wills appointed the same bank as executor. Husband and wife died within six-week period, so that neither could enjoy the life estate. The total combined estate included undivided interests in both real and personal property. Would the bank executor have a conflict of interests in administering the two estates?


The Canons of Ethics of the State Bar govern the conduct and ethics of the members of the State Bar and do not apply to actions of banks. Therefore, this inquiry does not fall within the purview of the Canons and is outside the jurisdiction of the Committee on Interpretation of the Canons of Ethics of the State Bar of Texas. (8-1)