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David H. Schwartz Feb. 5, 2021

According to a recent survey by EstateExec, approximately 19% of participants claimed that there was perceived executor misconduct during the estate settlement process. Settling the final affairs of a deceased loved one can involve many complexities and challenges. During the estate settlement process, disputes and conflicts between family members often escalate. Likewise, the estate may be administered by an executor who isn't acting in the estate's best interest. If you disagree with the handling of your deceased loved one's estate by the executor, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable California Will and Estate contest attorney for proper guidance.

The Law Offices of David H. Schwartz, Inc. is committed to offering experienced legal guidance and comprehensive representation in estate administration matters. Attorney David H. Schwartz is available to discuss your situation and explore your legal options to challenge the executor's decisions.

As your legal counsel, Mr. Schwartz can fight vigorously to protect your rights and ensure that the provisions of your loved one's estate are executed in accordance with their wishes. The Law Offices of David H. Schwartz, Inc. is proud to serve clients across San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, Alameda County, San Mateo, and the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Valid Reasons to Remove an Executor

Executors of deceased people's estate are required to perform their estate administration duties reasonably, fairly, and with due diligence. Irrespective of the condition, the executor has a primary responsibility to fulfill the decedent's wishes in accordance with the provisions of the trust or will being administered.

Furthermore, the probate courts throughout California recognize the executor's authority when it comes to estate administration matters. Nonetheless, the executor doesn't have the final say on all decisions regarding the decedent's estate. In a situation where beneficiaries of the estate disagree with how it was administered, they may be eligible to take legal action and have the executor removed.

You may not, however, remove an executor just because you disagree with their decisions. To remove an executor, you must show that the person engaged in gross misconduct or showed incompetence when performing his or her duties. Some valid reasons to replace or remove an executor include:

  • It is in the estate's best interest to ensure proper administration

  • Failure to comply with the provisions of the will or trust

  • Breach of fiduciary duty

  • Disagreement between co-executors

  • Abuse of discretion or power

  • The executor is unfit or unable to act as a result of a physical or mental disability

  • The executor is under unnecessary pressure or undue influence

  • The executor wasted or mismanaged the estate's assets

  • The executor is asking for exorbitant fees and expenses

  • The executor is facing criminal charges or has been convicted of a crime

Taking Action

If you disagree with how the executor is performing their duties or handling the estate administration process, you are entitled to take legal action. However, you can start by trying to communicate with the executor and making your grievances known.

If the executor fails to reason with you, change their decisions, and fix any damage done to your satisfaction, you can take legal action by filing a motion with the county probate court. The court will evaluate the situation and determine whether the grounds or reasons provided for the executor's removal are valid enough.

If the court rules that the executor was indeed incompetent or engaged in an act of misconduct, it will appoint a new executor. The court will likely appoint an alternate executor named in the will or trust by the decedent. If an alternate is not named by the decedent, another person will be appointed.

Get Help from an Experienced Attorney

During the estate administration process, the executor is expected to act fairly, reasonably, and in the best interests of the proper administration. Unfortunately, this isn't always so. If you disagree with the decisions taken by the executor of a deceased loved one's estate, consulting with an experienced California will and estate contest attorney is important to protect your rights.

For more than 45 years, attorney David H. Schwartz has been providing outstanding legal services and handling estate planning matters, including probate, trusts, wills, and estate administration. Mr. Schwartz will review every detail of your situation and investigate the executor's conduct. As your legal counsel, he will fight to protect your rights and work diligently to address your needs and concerns.

If you believe that the executor is incompetent or suspect any misconduct in the executor's actions, call the Law Offices of David H. Schwartz, INC. today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. Attorney David H. Schwartz can offer you the experienced legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate key decisions. Mr. Schwartz is proud to serve clients throughout San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, Alameda County, San Mateo, and the San Francisco Bay Area of California