The passing of a loved one is almost always a difficult event to handle. You may have anticipated your loved one’s passing for some time due to old age or illness, but it still hit hard when the time came. Still, you anticipated receiving something from the estate that would allow you to feel your family member’s continued presence in your life, either through monetary assets that would help you reach a goal or special and sentimental assets.
You may have known whom your loved one chose to act as the executor of the estate ahead of time, or it may have been new information that you received after the fact. Nonetheless, you waited some time to receive updates from the executor about the probate process, but as time went on, you began to think something was amiss.
Problems with an executor
Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for the executor of an estate to act in an untrustworthy or irresponsible manner. Even if your loved one believed that the person named could be trusted, it is not always easy to see a person’s true colors, and now you suspect that the person was not right for the job. You may have tried to contact the executor on multiple occasions to obtain updates only to be rebuffed or ignored completely. You still have not received your bequest, and others have not either.
Removing an executor
If you believe that the executor has shirked his or her duties or inappropriately used the power associated with being an executor, you may want to petition the court to remove the person in order for a more competent and trustworthy person to take over. If you want to do this, it is important that you meet certain stipulations:
- You have standing to file such a petition because you are an heir, beneficiary or relative of the decedent.
- You believe grounds for removal exist, such as executor misconduct, incompetence, mismanagement of assets, theft from the estate or refusal to perform necessary duties.
- You file a petition with the court for removal.
Removing an executor involves court proceedings, so you may want to prepare for such events. You will likely need to attend a hearing where you can express your concerns and why you believe grounds for removal exist. If the judge sides with you, the court will choose a new executor or an alternate or successor executor named in the will to take over. Because such action can be complicated, you may wish to obtain help from a Washington probate attorney.