How to Dismiss an Executor of an Estate

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It is advisable to consult with an attorney when contesting an executor.
It is advisable to consult with an attorney when contesting an executor. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you are the beneficiary of a will, you must often work closely with the executor of the estate through the process of probate. Occasionally circumstances arise that suggest that the executor is not acting in the best interest of the estate or is not carrying out the wishes of the deceased. In this case, you can make a motion to have the executor dismissed. But you should be aware that courts are often very reluctant to grant such a motion and that the standard of proof is high.

Find out which probate court is dealing with the estate and inquire how much time you have to make a claim. In some states you must enter any contest to the will within six months of the grant of probate.

File an appearance notifying the court that you have an interest in the will and wish to be kept informed of any matters relating to the probate.

Document actions you believe the executor has taken that give you grounds for seeking his dismissal. Gather evidence of any wrongdoing or dishonesty on the part of the executor. You cannot merely state that the executor is dealing with the estate in a way of which you do not approve; you must have evidence of actual malfeasance or of his inability to carry out the duties assigned to him.

Consult with an independent lawyer not currently involved in the probate and discuss your concerns. If possible, find an attorney who specializes in contesting wills, as this is a very tricky area. She will be able to determine whether you have sufficient grounds for requesting a dismissal, and she can help you with both filing your petition and making an appearance before the court.

Petition the probate court for removal and replacement of the executor.

Attend the hearing that will be scheduled by the probate court for the consideration of your petition.

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