The executor or administrator of an estate has a lot of responsibility. They need to file paperwork with probate courts, secure property left behind by the deceased and handle all of their obligations to others.
Most of the time, an executor will do their duty faithfully, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, executors fail or misbehave, requiring that beneficiaries and family members challenge them. There are a multitude of scenarios that can lead to the removal of an executor, but many of them fall into one of the three categories below.
The executor has put their own benefit above the needs of the estate
An executor has a fiduciary duty or legal obligation to put the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries above their own. Misappropriating assets from the estate or trying to turn the position into a way to make money for themselves could constitute a breach of fiduciary duty.
The executor has not done what is necessary
Probate proceedings require attention to detail and organization. An executor has to file paperwork, notify creditors and start managing finances on behalf of the estate. When an executor has gone months without taking any of the necessary steps, beneficiaries may need to act to prevent that inaction from affecting the value of the estate.
The executor has not followed through with the instructions
Executors often have close relationships with the people whose estates they handle. That may mean they also have relationships with the other members of the family. Personal bias might lead to an executor choosing not to follow the instructions provided by the deceased in the estate plan. A deviation from those instructions might be grounds for a challenge in probate court.
When you believe that in the executor’s bad behavior, inaction or incompetence will affect your inheritance, you may need to go to probate court to challenge them.