Advice on Removing an Executor from an Estate

After a person is named an executor, the individual takes on the obligation to adequately and promptly complete the estate’s administration in addition to distributing an estate’s assets to anyone listed as a beneficiary. Assuming that the executor appreciates the duty that he or she owes to the estate and pursues appropriate assistance, an estate’s administration can be performed in a timely manner, and assets are distributed appropriately.

It’s not unique for new challenges to appear during estate administration. This article highlights some situations where a court might remove an executor after paperwork is filed by an estate beneficiary.

A common issue faced by beneficiaries is when executors do not timely administer an estate. Even though estate administration is nuanced, executors have a duty to administer estates in a timely manner. Unfortunately, executors sometimes do not expediently process how an estate should be administered. Instead, executors sometimes take too long to complete estate planning processes. 

In situations where an executor is derelict in his duty with estate administration, actions can be filed with courts pursuing the removal of an executor. Often, courts will establish a schedule that executors should meet after actions are filed. Assuming that an executor meets important court deadlines, a person will likely not be removed from an estate.

Failing to Keep Accurate Records

Every executor has an obligation to keep detailed records involving estate administration. Unfortunately, executors sometimes fail to maintain records that could serve as a basis for their removal in case an action is filed with the court. Besides the removal of these actions, courts sometimes enter judgments against executors for any amount for which they cannot account. Actions of this kind often arise during estate administration when executors do not provide estate accounting following beneficiary requests. If an executor cannot provide such detailed information, action can be pursued that can lead to the removal and surcharge against an executor. 

Commingling Assets

When executors administer estates, they must make sure to maintain both separate and distinct estate accounts. Executors occasionally commit the error of placing assets from an estate into personal accounts, which leads to these assets becoming commingled. This violates an executor’s fiduciary duty to estate beneficiaries and can lead to an executor’s removal if the matter is not promptly remedied. 

If estate accounts are commingled but are remedied with sufficient accounting, this can prevent the removal of the executor. If commingling occurs and an executor cannot sufficiently account in regards to estate assets, the executor will almost certainly be removed. Following the removal of an executor, an executor would likely be surcharged and judgment made against the executor.

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