How to Fire the Executor of a Will

By Teo Spengler

Although an executor owes a fiduciary duty to the heirs of the will she administers, the heirs do not hire her and therefore cannot fire her. The testator selects the executor to administer his estate, and after the testator's death, only a probate judge can disqualify an executor upon proof of incompetence or serious infraction. Any heir can object to the executor's capacity or actions by filing a timely challenge, but must prove these allegations at trial.

Step 1

Investigate the appointment of the executor. Verify that the person acting as executor is the same person named in the will. If circumstances warrant, investigate whether the testator executed the will according to state law; if the testator's signature was not attested by two witnesses, for example, the will itself may be invalid, thereby invalidating the selection of the executor.

Step 2

Consider whether you can prove incapacity sufficient to disqualify the executor. Courts require a showing of severe mental, physical or moral incapacity that prevents an executor from fulfilling her functions. Occasional alcoholic abuse or drug use will not support allegations of incapacity, but proof that a jury convicted the executor of criminal behavior often suffices.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Understand that if you intend to base your objection on the executor's improper actions, the court will require proof of serious malfeasance. Many heirs express dissatisfaction for a slow probate procedure by objecting to the executor, but few courts disqualify an executor on this basis. Find substantial evidence such acts as dishonesty with the court, misappropriating assets or embezzlement. Since an executor owes a very high duty of care to the heirs, any self-dealing will disqualify her.

Step 4

Employ an experienced probate attorney to draft and file a timely objection. Alternatively, file the objection yourself, after conducting research into the proper procedure for and substance of an objection in your jurisdiction. When you file the objection, the court clerk sets a trial date for hearing and notifies the relevant parties. Appear at court on the given day. If you are representing yourself, present your evidence and convince the court of your allegations.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Remove an Executor of a Will

References

Related articles

Can an Executor of a Will Give a Power of Attorney to Someone From Prison?

The executor of an estate possesses only those powers granted to him under a will and by state law. A power of attorney granting a prisoner authority over an estate may be possible depending on the powers granted to the executor. Although an executor has the right to delegate authority to anyone he deems fit, he must do so while keeping the fiduciary duty he owes to the estate in mind.

How to Remove an Executor From a Will in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A Personal Representative, or Executor, is appointed by the court in a probate proceeding to protect the assets of the estate and to transact business on behalf of the estate during the probate process. The Executor is also responsible for liquidating assets to satisfy creditors of the estate, and to make inheritance distributions from the estate to the heirs and beneficiaries. But what if the Executor makes a decision that you, as an heir or beneficiary, think jeopardizes your inheritance, or that of another heir or beneficiary of the estate? In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, Article III Section 3-611, provides the steps necessary to remove a personal representative in just such a situation.

How to Contest a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows an agent to perform legal acts, such as consenting to medical treatment or selling property, on behalf of another person. Since the person granting the power of attorney, known as the principal, has the authority to revoke it at any time, as long as he is mentally competent and able to communicate, a power of attorney is often challenged by a third party when the principal is not competent and cannot revoke it.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Have Someone Removed as the Executor of a Will

One of the benefits of writing a will is choosing your own executor. An executor steers the will through the probate ...

How to Challenge an Executor of a Will

If the estate is the boat, the executor is the captain. An executor -- termed personal representative in some states -- ...

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 ...

Failure to Execute Fiduciary Responsibilities as an Executor of a Will

An executor is not guilty of misconduct if he does not get along with the will’s beneficiaries or puts the estate’s ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED