An executor is responsible for many important duties in managing and distributing an estate. Failure to carry out those duties could potentially result in severe financial harm to an estate’s beneficiaries.
In limited circumstances, an interested party can take action to remove someone from his or her role as executor. Here are examples of grounds for removal.
Improper management of an estate that causes considerable expense to an estate may warrant a change in executorship. There must be substantive evidence to remove someone on this basis. It may be advisable to formally request an accounting of the estate in order to conclusively demonstrate mismanagement. If an executor fails to produce an accounting within the time that a court mandates, removal may proceed.
Misrepresentations or efforts to conceal funds are generally indicative of fraud or other financial dishonesty. Executors may not appropriate assets for their own benefit in any way that differs from the bequests set forth in a will or exceeds reasonable compensation for the performance of their duties. It may be possible to pursue a legal remedy against an executor who has improperly taken money from an estate.
Ultimately, it is essential that there are demonstrable grounds before petitioning for accounting or removal. A court could interpret a petition to remove an executor as an attempt to challenge a will. This could significantly affect a petitioner’s interests when a will has a no-contest clause that devests beneficiaries of any interest in an estate if they dispute the testator’s wishes.