Sometimes, during the administration of a will process, it may become necessary to change the executor – for example, if a serious dispute arises. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about removing an executor of a will.

What Is An Executor?

Executors have a responsibility to administer the will. This includes collecting in the estate and administering it according to the wishes of the deceased. The main duties are getting copies of the will, arranging the funeral, valuing the estate, applying for probate and distributing the estate. They are required to act independently, even if they are a beneficiary of the will themselves. 

Executors are named in the will, but they can renounce the position before they accept it. If they carry out any of the duties, they are deemed to have accepted the position and it would take an order of the court to remove them.

The Process Of Removing An Executor

Generally, a beneficiary will begin the process of removing an executor. If they believe that the estate is not being administered properly, then they can apply to the court to either substitute or remove the executor. 

If there are more than one executors administrating the will, then the court can simply remove the offending executor. If there is only one, then the executor must be substituted with another.

The Circumstances For Removal…

Every case will be decided on its own merits by the court. However, it is unlikely that the executor will be removed simply because of hostility between them and the beneficiaries. Some circumstances where executors have been removed are:

  • Financial wrongdoing, such as where an executor pays themselves money in a way which is not in accordance with the will.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Where the executor has a physical or mental disability which has rendered them incapable of performing their duties.
  • Where the executor has been convicted of a crime since they were appointed.

What To Do If You Are Concerned

If you are concerned that an executor is not fulfilling their duties correctly, then there are several things that you can do. Firstly, contact the executor and ask them to explain what actions they have completed as executor and why. If you are not happy with their response, then you can apply to the court. 

It is advisable to seek legal advice if you are worried about an executor. A solicitor will be able to help you draft letters and make an application to the court. At Beeston Shenton, our wills and probate team are highly experienced in all areas of probate, and will be happy to assist you with your issue. If you need help, simply contact us today.