When you have a loved one who has passed away and left behind a will or trust, you will have to deal with the executor. The best way to explain an executor’s role is to imagine that the will or trust is a car and the executor is the driver. The executor is chosen by the testator (the person who passed away) to distribute the estate according to the terms of the will and manage the assets. If the executor is not following the terms laid out by the will or trust, you can contest their role and attempt to remove them from their duties.
Do You Have Standing?
To remove, challenge, or contest an executor, you have to have standing. This means you must have an interest in the matter. If you are one of the beneficiaries of the will or trust, then you are an interested party and can contest the executor. If you aren’t sure if you have standing, you will want to talk to an estate attorney.
Read the Will or Trust Document
In the will, the executor should be clearly named. Sometimes testators will choose a company that provides executor services for a small percentage of the estate. If this is the case, then a specific name may not be listed, but rather a company. If you have doubts about whether a particular person was appointed the executor, you need to discuss this with your attorney.
If you are building a case that the executor is not serving his or her role appropriately or is unfit to do so, you need to gather evidence. Your attorney can help you do this, but it is also helpful if you write down objective examples on how the executor is failing.
File Your Case
After you have clear evidence, you will want to file an objection in Probate Court. The paperwork can be quite complicated, so it is helpful to have an attorney on your side to assist you.