Can an Executor of an Estate be Removed?

Find out how you can remove an executor from an estate under certain circumstances in California and what steps you need to take.

Can an Executor of an Estate be Removed?

Yes, in California, it is possible to remove an executor of assets under certain circumstances. If the executor fails to fulfill their duty to manage the estate, a court action can be brought forward to request their removal. Generally, the court will set a timeline for the executor to meet after the action is filed. As long as they meet the court-imposed deadlines, they will likely not be removed from the estate.

Conversely, if the executor completely ignores these deadlines, their removal can be enforced. If the executor is incompetent or dishonest, the court can remove them. However, the beneficiary must provide proof of this to the probate court in order to remove the executor. To remove them, there must be sufficient evidence to convince the judge that they are incompetent.

You will need to gather documents and testimonies as evidence of expulsion. If the executor breaches their fiduciary duties to act honestly and fairly, they may be required to pay for any losses due to their actions. A beneficiary can request the removal of an executor of an estate if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities or if they breach their fiduciary obligations in doing so. The estate pays for this lawyer, but if the judge dismisses the executor for criminal acts such as breach of fiduciary duty, they can order the executor to reimburse the amount given to the lawyer. Norris has a large and growing practice of probate litigation which relates to defending or initiating wills contests on behalf of beneficiaries and alleged beneficiaries of an estate, as well as related litigation.

A court can also remove an executor if they find that they have a conflict of interest that could interfere with administering the estate. You can also ask the court to temporarily prohibit them from doing anything with or concerning the estate until you have a hearing on the matter. Even though there was no evidence that the executor was personally dishonest, they had not protected the estate's assets. Note how broad these categories are and include not only protecting the estate but also those involved which may include creditors of the estate, tenants in common with assets owned by the estate, family members who are not direct heirs etc. The executor must prove that it was in the best interest of the estate that they did not act in their own interest but in accordance with what was wished by the deceased.

The paragraphs referred to above give several reasons why an executor may be disqualified from serving in their role in an estate. If your petition is based on any form of misconduct, you can also ask for them to file a formal account. If you detect dishonesty, unfair treatment or bad faith on behalf of the executor, it may be beneficial to investigate local state laws regarding removing an executor. An executor is appointed to fulfill final wishes of a deceased and protect interests of beneficiaries. However, an experienced probate litigation lawyer can help uncover strong evidence of serious mismanagement and take necessary steps to protect the estate.

In cases where an executor is unable to provide accurate information, an action can be initiated as described above which may result in removal as well as a surcharge against them.

Kathy Broadbent
Kathy Broadbent

Award-winning pop culture guru. Avid bacon maven. Unapologetic internet evangelist. Total internet geek. Devoted food buff.

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