Serving as executor of an estate is an honor and a weighty responsibility. This being the case, most executors take the role seriously and do the job to the best of their ability. For some executors, though, the job is just too much. Whether the responsibilities of administering the estate are overwhelming or there are outside duties to attend to, on occasion an executor will simply neglect his or her duties, and allow a decedent’s estate to languish. When this happens, what can family members do?
In general, when an executor has failed to perform his or her duties, the decedent’s family can petition the court to remove the executor and appoint a new executor to serve in his or her place. Of course, having an executor removed or replaced is not an easy undertaking, and the court won’t take action simply because you don’t like the executor or it’s taking a little longer than you think it should to settle your loved one’s estate.
What does it take to have an executor removed or replaced? You’ll need to show that he or she has seriously neglected or mishandled the estate. Actions like failing or refusing to file required inventories or mismanaging estate assets such that they’ve lost value can result in court intervention. In some cases where the executor’s actions have resulted in loss of value to estate assets, the executor might not only be removed, he or she might also be held liable for the damages to the estate.
What should you do if think your loved one’s executor should be removed?
The first step is to get in contact with an experienced probate attorney. He or she can give you advice tailored to your family’s specific situation, and can help you take the necessary steps to get the probate process back on track.