Reasons to Remove an Executor in PA

By Valerie Stevens

An executor is the person named in a will to carry out a person's wishes after death. As the name suggests, the executor facilitates the execution of the deceased person's will. The role of the executor is the same as the role of administrator, but an administrator must be appointed in cases in which the deceased person failed to name an administrator, or if the named administrator declines to fulfill the position. Both are referred to as a "personal representative" in Pennsylvania law.

An executor is the person named in a will to carry out a person's wishes after death. As the name suggests, the executor facilitates the execution of the deceased person's will. The role of the executor is the same as the role of administrator, but an administrator must be appointed in cases in which the deceased person failed to name an administrator, or if the named administrator declines to fulfill the position. Both are referred to as a "personal representative" in Pennsylvania law.

Procedure

The Pennsylvania court can remove an executor on its own motion, or an interested person can petition the court for removal. Creditors or beneficiaries of the will are generally "interested persons." Usually the executor will be given a chance to appear before the court and explain why she should not be removed. However, if the court is convinced there is an immediate danger to the interests of the deceased’s creditors or beneficiaries, the court can remove the executor without a hearing. The court has wide discretion to remove an executor and can do so for any reason that jeopardizes the interests of the estate.

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Mistakes or Dishonesty

The grounds for removal include mistakes or wrongdoing on the part of the executor. If the executor is mismanaging or wasting the assets of the estate, or if the estate is becoming insolvent through actions of the executor, the executor can be removed. The executor can also be removed if she fails to perform any of the requisite duties, such as notifying the beneficiaries.

Illness or Moving

Inability to carry out the duties of the job can also result in an executor being removed. The job can be time-consuming and energy-draining, and an executor can become overwhelmed. If the executor becomes too sick to do the job and is likely to remain so, she can be removed. Moving out of Pennsylvania also can lead to removal.

Criminal Activity

Another reason an executor might be removed is alleged criminal activity. If she has been charged with voluntary manslaughter or homicide, except homicide by vehicle, she can be removed, provided that the charges have not been dismissed, withdrawn or concluded by a not guilty verdict.

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How to Get the Heir Removed as an Executor in Virginia

References

Related articles

What Happens if an Executor Refuses to Probate?

An executor has a duty to act in the best interest of the estate, and refusing to probate an estate may be cause for the executor to be removed. State probate laws differ, but the Uniform Probate Code, approved by the National Conference of Commissioners On Uniform State Laws, provides a general framework for handling an executor refusing to move the probate process along. In addition to removal, an executor may be held personally liable for breaching his fiduciary duty to the probate estate.

An Executor's Duties to a Beneficiary

Executors are individuals who are appointed through a will to ensure the wishes of the testator, person who created the will, are carried out. In some states, executors are called personal representatives. Since the testator is deceased, the executor owes certain duties to those who stand to benefit from the deceased's will, known as beneficiaries. While the primary duty of the executor is to follow the instructions of the testator and administer the will as written, the executor has other legal duties, called fiduciary duties, he owes the beneficiaries.

How to File a Complaint on an Executor's Integrity

The executor of an estate occupies a position of trust; carrying out the testator's last wishes requires not only the mental acumen necessary to handle often complex business affairs, but also a healthy dose of honor. If you're an interested party who feels the executor is misbehaving, your state's probate code will contain a mechanism for rectifying the situation.

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