How to remove an executor of an estate

Most people name an executor to settle their estate in the event of their death. If they do not do this, interested parties can apply to become the executor. If no one applies, the court appoints an executor who can act in the deceased's best interest. Regardless of how the executor comes into his position, heirs and others tied to the estate can remove the executor if they feel his conduct doesn't benefit the estate. This requires going through the probate court.

Gather evidence that the executor is ineligible for the executor position, guilty of misconduct surrounding the estate or is not of a physical or mental capacity to complete the duties of an estate executor. Courts typically will not remove an executor without just cause, so you have to prove the executor is not fulfilling his fiduciary duties to the deceased. Simple disagreements between you and the executor are not sufficient cause to remove the executor.

Hire an attorney experienced in probate cases.

Obtain the forms necessary to file a petition for removal of the executor from your local probate court clerk. In some cases, the forms are available online so you can print them at home --- online forms usually are clearly labelled, but if they are not, call the clerk or your attorney to resolve any confusion.

Fill out the petition forms. If there is more than one heir, typically all heirs have to consent to the legal action against the executor by signing the petition.

Make copies of your evidence. Attach the copies to your petition forms.

File the petition with the probate court clerk.

Attend the hearing regarding the removal of the executor on the date the court sets. Have your attorney use your evidence to make a case against the executor. If the judge rules in your favour, he will remove the executor's legal authority over the estate and find a new executor if someone else does not wish to apply for the position.

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Things Needed

  • Evidence of executor misconduct
  • Forms for removal of executor

About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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