What to do about an executor who has not done their job?

I am the youngest of 4 children; our father passed in 12 years ago. My older sister was left in charge of the estate. She has done nothing to close the affairs of the estate. she missed a court date this week. I was advised many years ago. The next brother in line needs to take action. Is there anything I can do to close the process?

Asked on October 30, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The answer to your questions is as follows:

Can an Executor Be Removed for Mismanagement?

A personal representative, whether an executor of a will or a trustee of an estate, may be removed for failing to meet the responsibilities of the position. While different states outline varying examples of executor mismanagement, in general an executor can be removed for any of the following reasons:

  • Waste, embezzlement, mismanagement or the commission of a fraud on the estate
  • Inability to execute the duties of the office or otherwise unqualified for the position
  • Wrongful neglect of the estate
  • Threat to the estate or interested persons

Who Can Petition for Removal of an Executor?

Any interested person can petition to remove an executor. An interested person is usually any present or future beneficiary or creditor who has a stake in the estate. The petition for removal may be combined with a request for appointing a new, alternative personal representative.

What is Required to Petition for Removal?

The objecting party must present all facts showing "cause" for the executor's removal. If the court determines that there are sufficient grounds then the executor must show why they should not be removed from the position. If the executor fails to attend or answer the court’s request, they will automatically be removed as the representative.

Do I Need an Attorney to Petition for Removal?

Petitioning for removal of an executor will require appearances before the probate court and presentation of evidence sufficient to prove that removal is warranted. Evaluating whether there is sufficient evidence to successfully petition for removal can be complicated and an initial review by an experienced attorney of the circumstances will likely prevent more unnecessary costs.

An attorney to assist you in your locality can be found on attorneypages.com.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.