When it comes to estate planning, it's important to understand when the executor of a will can be removed and why it may be necessary. Grounds for removal of an executor can include friction between co-executors, failure to comply with the terms of the will, failure to cooperate with a vital party or beneficiary, neglect or mismanagement of estate assets, misconduct, self-management, abuse of discretion, and embezzlement. Any interested party wishing to remove an executor would have to ask the probate court to remove the executor and submit a reason. It is best to have a probate lawyer advise you first and help you with this petition.
You'll want to get an accounting, if you can, and any proof of why the executor should be removed. You can also ask the court to temporarily prohibit the executor from doing anything with or with the estate until you have a hearing on the matter. If an executor fails to perform his duty to manage an estate, an action can be brought in court to request the removal of the executor. Some states even allow the removal of the executor if they did not protect the assets, although there was no evidence that he was personally dishonest.
Unless the estate is under dependent management, which implies court supervision, executors are mostly unsupervised. You can get a better idea of how much it will cost to remove an executor by consulting with an estate planning lawyer. If the executor favors one beneficiary of the inheritance over others and, as a result, treats the other beneficiaries unfairly, then a motion can be filed with the probate court for their removal. Appointing one or more successor executors may also be a good idea if you think the principal executor may change their mind or that they may die before they can perform their duties.
Every executor of an estate has a duty to maintain accurate books and records of the administration of the estate. If the executor violates his fiduciary duties to deal honestly and fairly, he may be required to pay for losses due to his actions. If you believe that an executor has breached his fiduciary duty, he can request an accounting of the estate 15 months after his appointment. These parties may also seek to remove an executor if they can prove that the executor has a conflict of interest between his duties as executor and some other fiduciary duties that cannot be reconciled and make them unable to be fair to the estate.