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How To Challenge The Executor Of A Will

by Layla Bryant

If a family member has passed away recently and the family is involved in the probating of the will, it's possible you may have issues with the named executor of the estate. This is not a common occurrence, but it does happen from time to time. It can be a very confusing and difficult process when you have to make the decision to challenge the executor. If you find yourself at this crossroad, your best bet is to hire an estates lawyer and take it from there. This article will give you a brief overview on how to challenge the executor of a will and the reasons you need to have to do so. 

Proving Unsuitability

You will need to initiate a proceeding at the Probate court that the will is being probated in. During the hearing that the court will schedule, you will need to prove that the executor of the will is somehow unstable to serve as executor. You will need to prove some type of conflict of interest that the executor faces, or some other reason that they are legally ineligible to serve as executor. 

Legal ineligibility includes the executor being mentally incompetent for the job, or if they are involved in some type of complex litigation. If the executor is believed to be stealing from the estate, refusing the accounting rules, or wasting away the assets of the estate, those are all legal grounds for removal as executor. 

Individuals Involved

Not just anyone can file a motion to have the executor removed. You need to be a close family member or an interested party to the will, such as a beneficiary or a creditor of the estate. During the court proceeding, the attorney for the interested party and the attorney for the estate and/or executor will be present to argue their case. Each side will need to present evidence as to why they feel the executor should or should not be removed.

If you feel that the executor has been stealing from the estate, you will need to ask for an audit of the estate. The court does not remove executors for frivolous reasons. So even if the executor is argumentative, is rude to the family members or beneficiaries, or withholds information you feel you're entitled to have, those actions alone are not enough to warrant removal as executor. Even if the executor is taking a long time to settle the estate, it's still not enough to warrant removal.

Talk with an estate attorney, such as those found at Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP, to review your options regarding your particular situation.