How to contest an executor of a family Will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to contest an executor of a family Will?

My mother passed away recently. There are 8 children, 1 of whom is a lawyer who has been named

executor. Can I contest this because he is a family member? What are my options?

Asked on January 29, 2018 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can only contest the appointment of an executor if you can show that force, threats, coercion, deception or other improper means were used to get the testator (person making the will) to appoint this person as executor; or if you can show that the executor violates his fiduciary duty (duty of loyalty and of using reasonable care) to the estate or the beneficiaries, such as by diverting money or assets to himself or his family or friends, or being negligent in how he handles the responsibilities, or not honoring the instructions in the will. That he is a family member is NOT grounds to challenge his appointment: executors are very commonly family members (I was, for my father, for example) and there is no legal bar on a family member serving as executor. You have have to show wrongdoing in his appointment or by him as executor to successfully challenge.

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 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.

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