The executor of a will takes on a big responsibility. Once they accept that responsibility, however, they’re expected to behave responsibly. They even take an oath that they will administer the estate according to the law and the decedent’s wishes.
Most of the time, the executor of an estate and the family of the deceased get along — but not always. If your relationship with your parent’s executor is less than rosy, is there anything you can do?
Maybe. Here’s what you need to know.
The law sets out specific reasons that executors can be removed
New Jersey law NJSA 3B-14-21 states that fiduciaries (which include executors) can be removed from their roles for the following reasons:
- They fail to follow the order of the probate court either through neglect or outright refusal.
- They fail to file an inventory, give accounting information or give security per the court’s orders.
- They are incapacitated in some way and unable to conduct business.
- They embezzle, waste or misapply any part of the estate over which they have authority.
- They abuse the trust or confidence they have been given in some way.
- They no longer live in the state or retain an office in the state.
- They simply neglect their responsibilities or refuse to do them.
- They are one of two or more executors and they either refuse to do their part or won’t work with the other executors.
Beneficiaries and heirs have legal rights
When a relationship with an executor has become strained, it may be time to seek a voice of experience about your case. A probate attorney can help you understand if your expectations are reasonable and whether you have the right to remove and replace the executor.