The executor of an estate has to do a lot of work, and they also have to put the needs of other people above their own. Executives have a fiduciary duty to the estate that they manage. They should seek to preserve the value of the property in the estate and uphold the wishes expressed by the testator.
Unfortunately, some people fail to perform their duty and preserve the value of the estate. Family members may have no choice but to challenge an executor and have the courts remove them from their position of authority. When will family members need to challenge an executor?
When they don’t follow the plan
Some people will let the authority of estate administration go to their heads. They may try to enforce their own wishes rather than a pulled the estate plan. They might manipulate other family members or demand concessions because of their position of authority. They could also give assets out to individuals based on their own wishes and not the instructions of the testator.
When they breach their fiduciary duty
An executor should always put the needs of the estate and the beneficiaries before their own preferences. If someone tries to profit from their position, if they fail to make good decisions or if they diminish the pool of assets, four family members may bring a challenge against them for a breach of the fiduciary duty they have to the estate.
When they fail to take action
One of the more common issues with executors is a failure to act in a timely manner. Procrastination is human nature, but it could have devastating consequences in a probate situation. When an executor doesn’t secure assets, notify creditors or otherwise take timely steps to manage an estate, family members may need to remove them and replace them with someone who will handle these responsibilities properly.
Recognizing when you may need to initiate probate litigation to remove an executor can help you preserve your inheritance.