Cobb County Probate Lawyer: How to Remove an Executor from an Estate

Cobb County Probate Lawyer: How to Remove an Executor from an Estate

An executor is chosen by a testator to carry out the intentions of the will after the testator has died. It’s fairly easy to replace an executor when the testator is still alive – all the testator has to do is simply name a new executor. However, this becomes far more complicated and difficult once the testator has died. While it’s difficult to remove an executor from an estate, it’s not impossible, or even unheard of, to do so.

Why would you want an executor removed from an estate?

 An executor is supposed to carry out the intentions of the will and handle the estate in good faith. The executor may not do it perfectly, and the executor is under no obligation to change their performance to the liking of the beneficiaries. So, while some beneficiaries may wish to replace an executor simply because they don’t like them, or they are in conflict, this isn’t good enough. An executor has to demonstrate that they are failing at their duties in order to be removed and that this is likely to continue as long as the executor is in place.

What would you have to show to get an executor removed from an estate?

 First, the only people that can seek to get an executor removed are interested parties. These are beneficiaries or any creditor that is seeking compensation from the estate. These beneficiaries or creditors will have to show that the executor is incompetent, is careless, or is intentionally mishandling the estate by wasting it, diverting funds, or stealing. For example, an executor who is illiterate, or refuses to do a proper accounting, who distributes property to non-heirs, or takes money from the estate for himself or herself when he or she is not entitled can be (and probably should be) removed from the estate because these behaviors cause harm to the estate.

These parties can also seek to remove an executor if they can show that the executor has a conflict of interest between his or her executor duties and some other fiduciary duties that cannot be reconciled and makes the executor unable to be fair to the estate. For example, if the executor of an estate also happens to be the vice president of a bank that is suing because it believes it actually owns the title to a property in that estate, the executor has a conflict of interest.

How do you get an executor removed from an estate?

 Any interested party that wishes to remove an executor would have to petition the probate court to have the executor removed and present a reason. It’s best to have a Cobb County probate lawyer advise you first and help you with this petition. You will want to get an accounting, if you can, and any evidence of why the executor should be removed. You can also ask the court to temporarily forbid the executor from doing anything to or with the estate until you get a hearing on the matter.

If you would like to discuss your options with an experienced Cobb County County probate lawyer, please call our Marietta probate law firm at 770-425-6060 to schedule a consultation.

 

 

How to Choose an Executor or Successor Trustee with Your Atlanta Estate Lawyer

 

 

Atlanta Estate Lawyer

The decision of who to appoint as your executor or trustee is a huge one, and we’ve talked about it a bit in the past.  Still, it’s important to make sure that you have the information you need to make the right choice with your Atlanta estate lawyer.  This person will hold incredible responsibility for overseeing what becomes of your estate, and you want your choice to reflect this.

It’s not unusual to name your spouse as the executor or trustee, but there are certainly other options.  You may determine that one of your adult children is a good choice or prefer to have a family friend in charge.  In some cases, you may even place an attorney in the role.  No matter who you choose, you’ll want to also list an alternate in case there is some reason your first choice is unable to take care of the duties required.

Some things to consider when choosing your executor or successor trustee:

  • The process of closing an estate can take a very long time, so you want to choose someone who will be committed to following through.
  • The person chosen will have access to your finances, and there are opportunities to abuse the trust placed in him or her.  For this reason, among others, you want to choose a representative in whom you have complete trust.
  • There are many details and conflicting interests that will need to be managed during the process, so you want to choose someone who is organized and able to juggle these responsibilities.
  • Dealing with the estate requires working with a wide range of people and institutions.  The person you choose to represent you must be able to clearly communicate with all of them.
  • Because there are a lot of financial considerations to be made, it’s also best to choose someone who is responsible with money and has a decent grasp of how to manage it.
  • The person chosen will likely need to spend time in your home or business, going to court, meeting with attorneys, etc.  For this reason, estate lawyers in Atlanta will often recommend you choose a representative who is physically available, possibly even someone living in the area.

Finally, you want to ensure that the person you name to handle your estate is willing to take on the job.  It’s best to discuss the responsibilities and expectations with him or her to make sure it’s something the person feels up to taking on.  Spouses or children may feel like they would be unable to do the job in the midst of their grief, others may just not want the responsibility.  By discussing it with them before having your Atlanta estate lawyer name them in your documents, you won’t be adding an extra burden to someone who isn’t able to accept it.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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