The power of a dependent administrator to exercise authority is strictly limited by the order appointing the administrator and by the Texas Probate Code. Under the code, an administrator may take only the following actions without court order:
- Release liens when the debt is paid in full,
- Vote stocks by limited or general proxy,
- Pay calls and assessments,
- Take out appropriate liability and hazard insurance on estate property, and
- Pay taxes, court costs, and bond premiums.
All other actions necessary to administer the estate, including selling estate property, paying expenses, abandoning property, and settling claims, require express court approval. Because of the potential liability a dependent administrator faces – both personally and on the bond, and because of the fiduciary duties with which the administrator is charged, it is better for an administrator to seek court approval before undertaking any action on behalf of the estate that is not specifically authorized either by prior court order or by the Texas Probate Code.