Livens & Reed, PLLC

When executor fails to do his or her job -- The Max Hopper case

Texas residents may have heard about the significant verdict coming out of a Dallas probate court regarding the estate of Max Hopper. The multi-billion-dollar verdict was awarded to Mr. Hopper's heirs after they claimed the executor failed to administer the estate appropriately. While a jury may have sided with the deceased family, this case is far from over.

Max Hopper died in 2010. He was an American Airlines executive, known for creating the company's reservations system. Due to the successes in his professional career, when he died, he left behind a sizable estate. Unfortunately, he had failed to put together a will, so his estate was placed in the care of a bank.

When he died, Mr. Hopper's estate was valued at approximately $19 million. His wife and children claim that JPMorgan Chase & Co. failed in their duty to appropriately manage the estate, costing them millions. They filed legal claims against JPMorgan and were recently awarded an $8 billion judgment. This is said to be the ninth-largest verdict recorded in United States history. Some of the family members have asked for a judgment reduction, and JPMorgan has asked the court to throw out the verdict entirely.

While most Texas residents will not deal with estates the size of Max Hopper's, the point in sharing this case is that beneficiaries who are unhappy with how their loved one's estate are being managed can do something about it. When an executor fails in his or her duties, he or she may be held responsible for any losses suffered by the beneficiaries. With the assistance of legal counsel, it may be possible to recoup those losses.

Source:, "JPMorgan Says Family Awarded $8 Billion Verdict Deserves Nothing", Tom Korosec and Margaret Cronin, Nov. 11, 2017

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