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Business & Commercial Law : Estate Planning & Litigation : Bankruptcy

Facts about removing an executor in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Business & Commercial Litigation

When someone dies, their estate goes through a process called probate, which is meant to settle the estate and distribute the deceased person’s assets. An executor is appointed to oversee this process, and they are typically a close relative or friend of the deceased. However, there are situations where the beneficiaries and/or other interested parties may want to remove the executor.

When there is a conflict of interest

If the executor stands to gain financially from the estate, they may have a conflict of interest. For example, if they are a beneficiary of the estate, they may make decisions that are not in the best interests of the other beneficiaries. In such cases, it may be necessary to remove the executor and appoint someone else to oversee the estate.

When the executor is not doing their job

The executor has a duty to settle the estate in a timely and efficient manner. If they are not meeting this standard, the beneficiaries may want to remove them and appoint someone else. For instance, if the estate has been in probate for several years without any progress, it may be time to remove the executor.

When there are unavoidable circumstances

There may be circumstances beyond the executor’s control that make it impossible for them to continue overseeing the estate, such as a serious illness. If the executor is not willing to step down voluntarily, the beneficiaries may need to take action to remove them.

How can you remove an executor?

The first step is to send a demand letter to the executor, asking them to step down. If they refuse, you can file a petition with the court to have them removed. The court will then hold an estate litigation hearing, at which both sides can present their evidence and arguments. After considering all of the evidence, the court will decide whether or not to remove the executor.

If you’re considering removing an executor, it’s important to understand the process and what your options are. estate litigation can be complex. Just remember that once the executor has been removed, the estate will need to be re-opened and a new executor will need to get appointed. This can be a time-consuming and costly process, so it is important to consider all of your options before taking this step.