What to do if an executor refuses to act?

My ex-wife died 3 1/2 years ago. She named myself and my son in her Will. My son was named executor. He refuses to do anything with it. I have called the lawyer and he tells me I have to hire another lawyer to take it over. It states in the will that if he shall fail or cease to act for any reason whatsoever, then I appoint my ex-husband as successor executor. I don’t see where I should have to hire another lawyer to finish this.I reside in one state and my son resides in another. Do I need to hire another lawyer or can he take care of it?

Asked on September 8, 2013 under Estate Planning, Florida


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  If your son has started to act by filing to be the executor of the estate then the lawyer that reppresents him is correct: you will need to hire another attorney to challenge his appointment and be named as executor in his place.  The attorney reporesents the executor and the estate.  However, if your son would voluntarily step down by resigning then the attorney can probably make a motion on his behalf to resign and appoint you in his palce.  All this has to be done in the state in which the probate is filed (the state in which the decedent resided at the time of her death).  Good luck.

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