Under what circumstances can an executor be removed?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | Probate Litigation |

Being named the executor of an estate carries with it great responsibility. An executor has many duties which must be fulfilled correctly, and in a timely manner, so that the deceased’s last wishes are implemented faithfully. Because of the executor’s importance, there are situations which may demand their removal.

Removal without notice

Under some circumstances, a court can remove an executor without giving them any notice of the removal. Being an executor comes with certain legal requirements, such as being of age. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to removal. So too can failing to provide an estate inventory or necessary bond, as necessary. If an executor leaves the state for an extended period of time, without the court’s permission, this can also lead to removal.

Removal with notice

Some actions an executor takes will necessitate their removal, but they must first be notified and given an opportunity to respond. This includes misconduct, such as embezzling the very property entrusted to them. There are times when the court will give the executor specific orders regarding the administration of the estate – should the executor fail to follow them, they can be removed with notice.

There are practical considerations which can lead to removal as well. If the executor becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to perform their duties, they can be removed. Likewise, if the executor is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a penitentiary, removal can proceed.

Removal of an executor, with or without notice, is not always instigated by the court. If the situation requires it, any interested party can make a motion before the court to begin removal proceedings. When it comes to probate matters, beneficiaries may find that beginning such proceedings themselves is the best way to preserve the deceased’s wishes.