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Can I be removed as executor of an estate?

| Aug 26, 2020 | Estate Planning |

It can feel like an honor when someone asks to execute their estate. Years later, when they die, and you have to step up to the task, you might realize you took on more than you bargained for. Executing an estate is a tough job that requires a lot of your time. If you fall behind, you could face criticism from the beneficiaries.

Can the family remove me as executor?

If someone threatens that they will have you removed as executor of the estate, it is important to know how that might work. The only person that has the power to remove you from your role is the probate judge. So the person complaining about you would have to ask them to do it.

Why can a court remove an executor?

When you agree to execute the estate, you take on a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries. You promise to act in their best interests in accordance with anything written in the will. Taking actions that benefit yourselves over the beneficiaries would be a breach of your fiduciary duty, which could lead to your removal.

A court could also remove you if it decides that you cannot carry out your role. It could be due to mental health problems or not performing the tasks you need to.

Can I be removed for being too slow?

Sometimes beneficiaries have unrealistic expectations of when they will receive their inheritance. Part of your job is to maintain communication with all beneficiaries. The more transparent you are with them, the more likely they will understand why things are not proceeding as fast they would like.

If someone does try to remove you, you have the right to defend yourself to the court. Or, if you are finding the role too challenging, it may be best to step aside and let someone else take on the role.

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