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Are you upset with the executor your dad named in his will?

Your father named his younger brother as the executor of his estate. Uncle Ned is someone you rarely saw when you were growing up, and you the choice surprised you since your dad and your uncle were not especially close.

Uncle Ned seems to be taking a long time to settle the estate, and he is not forthcoming with details. You know he invested some of the assets, but you do not know if the investments made any money for the beneficiaries. In short, you are not happy with Uncle Ned as executor. Can you have the courts replace him?

Reasons for removal

An executor has the responsibility of acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. While it is not always easy to remove an executor after the death of the testator — the person who writes the will — it is not impossible. Reasons for removing Uncle Ned might include:

  •         Wasting the assets of the estate
  •         Mismanagement that is damaging to the estate
  •         Conflict of interest
  •         Legal ineligibility
  •         Refusing a court order
  •         Refusing to abide by accounting procedures

Some shady areas

The court will not remove Uncle Ned as executor if he simply did not provide timely information to those of you who are beneficiaries. Do not bother the court if he was just rude or vague or did not respond to your emails. You may think you have reason to have the courts remove Ned because, after nearly seven months, the estate still has not been settled. The court will not accept this as reason for removal either, as the winding up may take much longer.

How to proceed

If you believe that a conflict of interest exists, that Uncle Ned is ineligible to serve as executor because he has a criminal record, that he is mentally incompetent or is stealing from the estate, you may have grounds for requesting his removal. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether replacement is appropriate. If so, the next stop will be probate court to prove your case and have the court name an alternate.


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