The executor of an estate has several responsibilities, including distributing inheritances to the heirs. Unfortunately, there have been instances in which an executor did not perform his or her job duties. When this happens, the heirs must act to ensure the deceased's wishes are followed. If you suspect the executor is not performing his or her duties, here is what you need to know.
Can the Executor Be Removed?
Depending on the circumstances, it might be possible to have the executor removed. To have him or her removed, you must prove there is a good reason. For instance, if you can prove that the executor is not capable of performing the tasks assigned by the estate, you can petition the court for a removal.
You can also petition the court for the removal if the executor has a criminal background that includes felonies or is mentally incompetent. In addition to this, you can ask for removal if the executor is refusing to follow the will or a court order or if he or she is wasting the assets from the estate.
When Will the Court Refuse to Remove the Executor?
Without a good cause, the court will likely refuse a petition to remove an executor. For instance, you cannot ask the court for a removal because the executor was rude. Even if the executor is being argumentative with the heirs, if his or her duties are being completed, he or she can likely stay in the executor role.
It might seem like a good cause, but if the executor is taking a long time to settle the estate, the court could refuse your petition for removal. This is especially true if the executor has a good reason for not settling the estate up to this point.
Do You Have Other Legal Options?
If filing a petition in the probate court does not work or is not an option, you can file a lawsuit against the executor. In the lawsuit, you and the other heirs could claim that the executor has failed to perform his or her duties. To be successful, you will have to prove that the executor's actions led to harm to you and the other heirs. This can be difficult to prove.
You could also agree to settle your disagreement with the executor by accepting settlement, or restitution, from him or her. The restitution is usually offered to help cover expenses that occurred because of the executor's actions.
To learn more about dealing with an irresponsible executor, talk to a probate attorney, such as from Moore, O'Connell & Refling PC.