How do I get my mother to take responsibility as the executor of my aunt’s estate?

My aunt passed away and the Will was not found until over a month after her passing. My mother is named as the executor and she has refused to take the will to her lawyer or accept any responsibility for my aunt’s legal paperwork, such as bank overdraft fees, hospital bills, and tax information. The social worker where my aunt lived told me that I needed to fill out a change of address form because they couldn’t keep having her mail come there since she was deceased, son ow I am receiving all of this legal paperwork.

Asked on February 11, 2016 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The short answer is, you can't make her take responsibility as the executor: a person cannot be forced against their will to take on the role of executor. All you can do is bring a legal action in surrogates or chancery court to have another executor appointed (you, if you are willing to take this responsiblity, for example). This is not necessarily a simple legal action: you are advised to retain an attorney to help you--you may be able to get the court to order the estate to pay the attorney's fee. (Note: a willing lawyer can also potentially be appointed executor.)

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