Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions a person makes when planning their estate. However, sometimes personal relationships can blind someone choosing an executor. It is also true that a combination of personal authority and access to valuable assets can bring out previously unexposed negative traits in some people.
However carefully your loved one selected the person to manage their estate, the potential exists for that person to fail in their duties. As one of the beneficiaries of the estate, you have a vested interest in preserving the assets left behind by the testator. When might you be in a position to challenge the executor because of how they’ve managed the estate?
When they violate their duties to the estate
Serving as the executor of an estate assuming the position of authority. The person accepting that role sure they always put the needs of the estate and the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate first when making decisions.
When an executor has made decisions that clearly prioritize their own desires or financial gain above the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries, their actions may open them up to a challenge.
When the executor stops fulfilling their obligations
Estate administration is a marathon, not a sprint. Someone may start out taking the right steps and quickly tire of the paperwork, lengthy phone calls and demanding requests by family members of the deceased.
When an executor has failed to take necessary steps in a timely manner, like closing bank accounts or changing the name on utility accounts, the estate can suffer financial losses. Inaction can therefore prompt the removal or censure of an executor not fulfilling their duties.
When an executor makes major mistakes
Sometimes, an executor with good intentions and good follow-through can still negatively impact the value of an estate. If the executor, through mismanagement or incompetent, has diminished value of estate assets, you may need to consider initiating probate litigation to remove them from their position and replace them with someone capable of making better decisions about the management of estate assets.
Learning when you have the right to initiate probate litigation can help you protect your inheritance and the legacy of your loved one.