Settling the final affairs of the deceased can be a complicated and emotional process. Family conflicts and disputes may escalate during the estate settlement process. Furthermore, the estate administration is overseen by an executor who may not be carrying out their duties in the best interest of the estate. If you disagree with the handling of the estate by the executor, you’re not alone.
At Duncan Legal PC, I will provide guidance and discuss your options in disputing the executor’s decisions. I can help you fight to protect your rights and see that the provisions of your loved one’s estate are carried out according to their wishes. I proudly serve clients throughout Centennial, Littleton, Greenwood Village, and Parker, Colorado.
Valid Reasons to Remove an Executor
Executors of a deceased’s estate are expected to carry out their duties with due diligence. During the estate administration process, the executor must be reasonable and fair. Regardless of the situation, their primary duty is to fulfill the wishes of the decedent as specified in the will or trust that is being administered.
Although the county probate court recognizes the authority of the executor, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the executor has the final say on all decisions regarding the estate. Where beneficiaries disagree with how the estate administration is being handled, they have the right to take action to have the executor removed from their duties.
An executor won’t be removed simply because someone disagrees with their decisions. Rather, it must be shown that the executor is incompetent or engaged in misconduct. Valid reasons to remove or replace an executor include:
- It’s in the best interest for the proper administration
- Disagreement between co-executors
- Failure to comply with the terms of the will
- Abuse of discretion
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- The executor is unfit due to a physical or mental disability
- The executor is requesting outrageous executor fees and expenses
- The executor is under undue influence or pressure
- The executor is facing criminal charges
If you disagree with how the executor is handling the estate administration, you are within your rights to take legal action. However, you may start by communicating with the executor and making your concerns know.
If the executor doesn’t change their decisions or behavior and correct any damage to your satisfaction, you may proceed with a court order. This involves filing a petition with the probate court. The court will assess the situation and rule as to whether the reasons provided for removal are valid.
Where it’s determined by the court that the executor did indeed engage in misconduct or is incompetent in their role, a new executor will be appointed. If the decedent named an alternate executor, the court will likely appoint that individual as the new executor. Otherwise, the court will appoint an individual using a priority list (which varies from court to court) that generally favors surviving spouses and adult children.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
According to a recent survey of 1,200 people by EstateExec, about 19% of participants claimed that there was perceived executor misconduct during the estate settlement process. If you disagree with the decisions being made by the executor of a loved one’s estate, it is crucial to consult with an experienced probate attorney immediately for proper guidance and to protect your rights.
At Duncan Legal PC, I have devoted my career to handling matters of probate, wills, trusts, and estate administration. I will investigate the executor’s conduct, and work diligently to protect your rights and address your concerns.
If you suspect any misconduct in the actions of the executor of a loved one’s estate, call Duncan Legal PC today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation. I will review your case, conduct a detailed investigation, and help you file a petition with the probate court. I proudly serve clients throughout Centennial, Littleton, Greenwood Village, and Parker, Colorado. Call me today to receive proper guidance and advocacy from a knowledgeable Colorado probate attorney.