Can You Remove an Executor?

An executor is appointed to close out the affairs of a deceased person. The last will and testament is used to name the executor, but if one has not been named or no will exists, the court needs to appoint a person in this role.

An executor has what is known as a fiduciary duty. This means they must uphold the interests of the estate and the associated beneficiaries above their own interest. A violation of this could lead to the removal of the executor. Anyone appointed in this position should know that they have this legal obligation and be fully prepared for what it means to have this responsibility and duty to the estate.

If you are an interested party to an estate and believe that the current executor has violated the law or the ethical rules surrounding this role, you might be able to ask the court to remove them from this position. This is a serious matter and claim and one that should not be undertaken lightly.

If you suspect that a fiduciary duty has been breached, it’s best to try to make sure this isn’t a misunderstanding first. In order to ask that the executor be removed, the person must be an interested party to petition the court and ask the judge to remove that person.

You must be able to show a valid reason for why you’re making this request, such as misconduct or incompetence. Simply because you are frustrated with actions the executor took legally does not mean you have met the legal grounds to pursue a claim to get them removed. You might want to meet with a probate lawyer to discuss whether or not any violations occurred. All beneficiaries have to be notified when a petition is entered to have an executor removed and the court will review the claims to determine the course of action.

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