New York Estate Administration Attorneys: The Removal of an Executor

NY Estate Administration Lawyers Working with Beneficiaries and Other Interested Parties Seeking the Removal of the Executor of an Estate

Executor Removal AttorneyThe executor of an estate is the person named in a will to handle the administration of the estate. He or she has considerable control about the way the estate is handled, and both beneficiaries and creditors can be substantially affected by an executor’s decisions and conduct. Some of an executor’s responsibilities include paying the estate’s debts and taxes, accounting for the assets of the estate, paying creditors, and distributing the estate’s assets to beneficiaries. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, an executor fails to comply with the terms of a will, engages in misconduct in violation of his or her fiduciary duties, or cannot discharge his or her duties. When this occurs, it may be possible to remove the executor through legal action.

The law firm of Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP works with beneficiaries who are seeking the removal of an executor. When the executor of an estate engages in misconduct or otherwise violates his or her fiduciary duties, the damage to the estate can be irreparable, so it is important to act quickly if you believe that the removal of an executor is necessary or appropriate. In addition, many executors are ready to put up a fight, so anyone seeking to remove one should retain experienced legal counsel. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (212) 387-8400 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Who Can Remove the Executor of an Estate in New York?

In order to petition the court to remove an executor, a person must have an interest in the estate. This means that they stand to gain or lose money as a result of the outcome of probate. Typically, individuals with an interest in a will are either beneficiaries of the will or creditors of the estate.

Common Grounds for the Removal of an Executor

There are a variety of reasons that a court may order the removal of an executor. These reasons typically have to do with an executor’s inability to perform his or her duties or the executor’s breach of those duties. Some of the specific reasons an executor may be removed include the following:

  • Mismanagement of the estate’s assets
  • Dishonesty about the condition of the estate or the decedent’s affairs
  • An inability to manage the estate’s affairs
  • Noncompliance with the terms of the will
  • Removing estate assets from the estate
  • Failing to notify the court about a change of address
  • The occurrence of a contingency upon which the terms of the will require the removal of the executor

The examples provided above are only a few of myriad reasons that may justify the removal of an executor. If you suspect that an executor of an estate in which you have an interest is engaging in unethical conduct, being dishonest with you, or is unable to effectively do his or her job due to mental illness, substance abuse, or some other condition, speak to an attorney as soon as you can.

Executors Owe Beneficiaries a Fiduciary Duty—and May Be Held Personally Liable for Losses by Beneficiaries

As a beneficiary of an estate, it is important to remember that the executor owes you a fiduciary duty—which is the highest duty that can be imposed by law. This means that the executor is required to put your interests above all others, act in good faith and with diligence, act reasonably (without negligence), and not engage in self-dealing.

If you believe that the executor of your estate has not acted in accordance with his or her fiduciary duties, you should speak to an attorney about bringing an action against the executor in addition to seeking removal. In some cases, an executor can incur personal liability for acting negligently or failing to pay the estate’s debts and taxes. This means that you may be able to sue the executor for any damages that you have incurred, such as loss of value to your portion of the estate.

Do You Need an Attorney to Remove the Executor of an Estate in New York?

Many people call us wondering if they need to retain an attorney to remove an executor. Of course, everyone is free to represent themselves in probate court, so there is no legal requirement that you retain a lawyer in order to petition the court to remove an executor. That said, New York estate and probate law is extremely complicated and you can significantly improve the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome by retaining an experienced attorney. Some of the ways that a lawyer can help you if you are seeking to remove the executor of a will in which you have an interest include the following:

  • A lawyer can help you determine whether you have legitimate grounds to seek the removal of a trustee or an executor
  • An attorney can collect evidence that supports your assertion that the trustee or executor should be removed
  • Your lawyer can prepare and file the appropriate paperwork with the court
  • An attorney may represent you in court and present your case to the judge in the strongest light possible.

Call Us Today to Speak with an Executor Removal Attorney in New York

If you are the beneficiary of an estate and believe that the executor is not properly executing his or her duties, you should speak to an experienced attorney. Any delay can result in the loss or dissipation of the estate’s assets, so it is in your best interest to immediately after realizing there may be a problem

The New York estate administration lawyers of Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP have been providing legal counsel and representation to individuals involved in probate for more than 25 years. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, call us at (212) 387-8400 or send us an email through our online contact form.