An executor is a person who handles the financial affairs of an estate, including the distribution of assets to heirs, and is named in the will of a deceased person. Probate, the legal process used to sort out an estate, gives the executor authority to perform his duties. You, as an heir of the estate, have the right to contest an executor's appointment if you are concerned about his ability to perform his duties or if you believe the will naming him is invalid. A will may be invalid under your state's laws due to the mental incompetency of the deceased person at the time the will was made, fraud, or the will maker being pressured or coerced into signing the document.
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List in writing the supporting facts for your contesting of the executor or the will. If you are alleging that the executor is unfit, include the reasons why, such as questionable mental competency. If you are questioning the mental state of the deceased person at the time the will was written, include items such as a diagnosis of a debilitating mental condition, like Alzheimer's disease. Include any other factors you believe support your case. Highlight the items you have solid evidence of. Review highlighted items to determine if these reasons can be proved in court.
Gather the evidence for all of the highlighted items. Include medical documentation or a signed physician's statement for medical conditions. List any witnesses you have who may be able to support your case.
Visit the court clerk's office that serves the court probating the will. Request the forms for contesting a will if you are challenging the will. Request the forms for a hearing on the executor's capacity to fulfill his duties if you alleging he is unfit. Ask for instructions for the forms.
Fill out the forms in full. Follow all instructions. State clearly your reason for the will contest or challenge of the executor.
Talk to the witnesses on your list. Verify that the information each witness has will help your case. Inform witnesses that they may be required to testify in court.
File the forms in the court clerk's office. Submit copies of your supporting evidence if required to do so under your state's laws. Attend all scheduled hearings and comply with any court requests.
Tips & Warnings
- Contact an attorney in your state if you are unsure about your rights or the procedures to contest an executor or challenge a will.
- You may lose your share of the estate if the will has a no-contest clause and you lose your case.
References & Resources
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