Daniel W. Uhlfelder P.A. | Attorneys At Law


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Can will beneficiaries challenge an executor?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Probate

Dealing with a deceased loved one’s estate can bring multiple challenges for those left behind. During that time, you don’t want any extra stressors to add to the difficulty of losing a beloved member of the family. To make the process easier, an executor can handle the ins and outs of managing your loved one’s estate while it goes through probate.

However, some executors may view their role as a position beneficial to them. If they abuse their duties, what can beneficiaries do to stop them?

What does an executor do?

As the will goes through the probate process, someone must tie up multiple loose ends of the estate. An executor has various roles, including:

  • Filing the will with the probate court
  • Finding and notifying all beneficiaries to the will
  • Notifying any interested parties, like a bank or insurance company
  • Paying off remaining debts

When done correctly, these duties ensure that the assets of the estate stay protected from any issues. With proper management, all beneficiaries can receive their inheritance as the deceased intended. But what if families don’t think the executor has the best interests of the estate in mind?

What can’t an executor do?

The responsibilities endowed to an executor may make them feel they have the power to control assets. But the role is merely one of administration, not of control. Without the court’s permission, the executor cannot:

  • Take money from the estate
  • Update the will to benefit either the executor or a particular beneficiary
  • Withhold assets from beneficiaries
  • Stop a will challenge

While the executor can draw compensation from the estate for the duties performed, the state limits the allowable amount.

A court petition can challenge an executor

If families feel an executor has abused power, they must bring a petition to the court. The judge will put a different person in charge of will administration if misconduct has happened.

By changing out the executor, you can reduce the challenges you face as you deal with the loss of a loved one.