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When can family members remove the executor of an estate?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Many people have no desire to be the executor of an estate. The role demands a lot of time and effort, and family members may not envy the person delegated to taking on the task.

When someone does step up to fill that role, family members often defer to them regarding the administration of the estate. In some cases, however, family members and beneficiaries may want to challenge or remove the executor of an estate. When is that potentially an option?

When an executor has been inactive

If an executor has failed to communicate with creditors, attend probate court proceedings or secure property for weeks after someone’s death, family members could challenge their role due to their failure to act in a timely manner.

When they cause harm to the estate through incompetence

Sometimes, people simply don’t have the skills, support or knowledge necessary to handle the responsibilities of estate administration. They could make mistakes, such as selling estate assets for far less than their current fair market value. When an executor’s actions affect the rights of the beneficiaries, they may have grounds to remove the executor.

When an executor violates their fiduciary duty

An executor should not try to profit off of their work for the estate. Instead, their goal should be to uphold the legacy of the deceased person and pass along the optimal amount of assets to beneficiaries. When an executor puts their own needs ahead of the estate’s, they could face a challenge based on their breach of their fiduciary duty to the estate.

Knowing when to take action during a problematic estate administration process can help you protect your inheritance.