Can a Beneficiary Remove an Executor?

If you are the beneficiary of a will, you expect the executor to perform his or her duties as the law demands. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When an executor does not perform his or her duties honestly and in good faith, you may seek to have him or her removed from the position. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some of the questions you may have:

What are an executor’s duties?

Executors are essentially responsible for ensuring everything goes according to plan. Executors have several responsibilities that require a competent, organized, individual to perform as efficiently as possible. Executors will first open probate, identify and document the deceased’s assets, and then notify all heirs and beneficiaries. From here the executor will manage the administration of the estate, pay off any of the deceased’s remaining debts, distribute assets amongst the heirs, and finally, close out the estate. Rather obviously, this is no small task, so if you believe the current executor is not capable of completing the job honestly and efficiently, you are most likely very concerned.

What are legal grounds to have an executor removed from the position?

There are several valid legal grounds for having an executor removed from his or her position. They are as follows:

  • The executor is no longer eligible to be an executor, perhaps due to a felony charge, or any other reason
  • The executor is incompetent
  • The executor is unqualified to do the job
  • The executor is mismanaging the estate either purposefully or out of negligence

What are some specific examples of inappropriate executor behavior?

Executors are prohibited from doing any of the following:

  • Changing provisions in a will
  • Signing a will on behalf of the deceased
  • Preventing beneficiaries from contesting the will
  • Selling the deceased’s assets for less than fair market value without the beneficiaries’ consent
  • Carrying out a will before its creator is deceased
  • Managing the estate before being legally appointed as executor

If you know someone doing any of these things, you must hire a knowledgeable attorney as soon as you can to have the executor removed.

How can I get an executor removed?

Fortunately, there are two things you can do to remove a bad executor. Of course, it is always best to voice your concerns directly to an executor before taking legal action against them, however, if you have already done so or are unable to do so for any reason, you may petition the court to remove the executor. There will be a hearing where you can both say your piece, and the court will make its decision from there. You may also file a civil lawsuit against the executor if you and your attorney can prove you suffered significant damages due to the executor’s harmful actions.

Contact our experienced California firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.