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Removing an executor from an estate’s administration

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Probate |

It may be difficult for a family who just lost their loved one to actively participate in the estate administration while still dealing with their family member’s death. Having an executor to manage the probate process can lift that burden from the surviving family’s shoulders. However, if an executor is incompetent or mishandles the estate, the family would have no choice but to intervene.

Grounds to remove an estate’s executor

Fortunately, the courts can remove an executor from the position if it shows that:

  • The executor can no longer take on the role, whether because of death, incapacity or other sufficiency
  • The executor fails to perform their duties as the will outlines.
  • The executor does not act in the best interests of the estate.
  • The executor is in conflict with the heirs and beneficiaries.

Usually, heirs and beneficiaries notice the executor’s incompetency or fraudulent behavior through inconsistent estate documentation and unfiled inventories and accounting documents. Another sign could be if the executor refuses transparency over the estate’s management.

Who can petition for the removal?

If the testator were still alive, they could have amended the will to remove the executor by creating a codicil. But if the intention to remove comes after the testator’s death, then any person interested in the estate, such as an heir or beneficiary, can file a petition with the court to remove the executor. The petitioner must submit evidence proving the ground for removal.

Nonetheless, courts can also initiate the removal if it deems the executor incompetent.

Protecting a deceased loved one’s legacy

Any surviving family would want their deceased loved one’s wishes to be fulfilled and their estate to be properly taken care of. While it would not take away the pain of losing a family member, administering a deceased loved one’s estate according to their will gives the surviving family comfort that they were able to at least fulfill their loved one’s wishes.

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