Probate Court and the Executor Removal Process
This is a sensitive subject but one that does unfortunately come up from time to time in probate court. The law requires the executor (also called a “personal representative”) of an estate to perform numerous obligations and always act in the best interests of the estate.
When a person dies with a will in place, the will names an executor to oversee the estate’s administration. In cases where a decedent dies without a will, the probate court appoints someone to serve in this role.
Whether the executor is appointed through the will or by the probate court, he or she must take care to handle the estate properly at all times.
When an executor fails to properly execute his or her duties, the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries may suffer. This is something the probate court takes very seriously.
Reasons the Probate Court Will Remove an Executor
Understandably, the idea of asking the court to remove an executor is uncomfortable for many people. In most cases, an executor is a family member and perhaps also a beneficiary of the estate. The other beneficiaries may worry that seeking the executor’s removal may damage important relationships or hurt the person’s feelings.
Although the law does provide a procedure for removing an executor, it must be clear that the executor failed to perform his or her duties. Examples of inappropriate executor conduct include:
- Refusing to probate the estate
- Refusing to release the decedent’s will
- Misusing or squandering an estate asset
- Failing to disclose a conflict of interest
Furthermore, the probate court will remove an executor if he or she is incapacitated or becomes incapacitated during the course of the estate administration.
In a removal proceeding, the court will consider all the evidence. To successfully remove an executor, the petitioner who seeks removal must present evidence that clearly shows the executor acted against the interests of the estate. For example, it is usually not enough to show that the executor is rude or difficult to work with.
If you believe the executor of your loved one’s estate should be removed, call our office to discuss your options. In some cases, it is possible to simply ask the executor to step aside. Whatever you’re facing, we can help you find a solution.
Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm
At the Law Offices of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your case.
This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.