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Removing The Executor: You Didn’t Hire Them, But You Can (Sometimes) Fire Them.

Removing the Executor: You Didn’t Hire Them, but You Can (Sometimes) Fire Them.

It isn’t uncommon for beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate to run into issues with the Executor of the estate (or “Administrator” if there is no Will). The Executor may be doing a poor job, a slow job, or no job at all. Frustrations can run high and beneficiaries often call me looking for a resolution. There are many issues that can occur during estate administration, and a number of Court proceedings and strategies that can be employed to obtain the beneficiaries’ objectives. However, sometimes, beneficiaries have no choice but to proceed forward with removing the Executor.

The Role of Letters Testamentary

In New York, an Executor cannot act as Executor unless he or she was awarded “Letters Testamentary” by the Court. Simply put, Letters Testamentary are a lot like a driver’s license. You can’t drive a car in New York without a driver’s license and you can’t administer an estate as Executor without Letters Testamentary (or “Letters of Administration” if there is no Will).

Grounds For Removal

Beneficiaries (and creditors and co-Executors) can seek to have the degenerate Executor’s Letters Testamentary revoked on numerous grounds, for example:

  • Improper management of assets or making improper investments.
  • Dishonesty, drunkenness, improvidence or want of understanding.
  • Wilfully disobeying a direction of the Court contained in an Order or Decree.
  • Wilfully disobeying any provision of law relating to the Executor’s duty.

I Can Help You

The laws pertaining to estate administration are complex. There are a number of strategies, methods, techniques, and Court proceedings that can be employed to resolve matters arising during the administration of a decedent’s estate. If you are a beneficiary of an estate (or a creditor or co-Executor), and issues have arisen, I encourage to contact me at 646-820-4011 or djr@djrattorney.com.

Daniel J. Reiter, Esq.

Daniel J. Reiter is an attorney admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Reiter focuses in the areas of estate and trust litigation, adult guardianship, estate planning, elder law, special needs law, and general litigation and dispute resolution.

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