Can an Executor be Removed From a Will?

If an executor is removed from a will, certain grounds are clearly not being met. But first, a quick summary of what an executor to a will is. Because being a professional executor is not easy in the first place.

The Official Law

Regarding an inheritance dispute, the executor administrates business pertain to the testator’s will. But say the executor doesn’t meet the duties inherent with the job.

Accordingly, Section 116 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 states that

the court has the power to remove a personal representative, or executor before the Grant of Probate.

An executor of a will is a person who carries out the instructions the testator provides. They’re also responsible for trying for maximum gain when it comes to sharing out assets.

  • Such as selling property at the right time to receive the highest return.
  • Or being responsible for the handling of the correct amount of taxes.

That said, any witness statements or ensuing legal costs that come with the administration of the will often fall to the executor of the will as well.

You can assign more than one person to be an executor, in short. However, many people find that assigning just one person is the most constructive way to operate.

Who is Eligible to be an Executor?

It is up to the testator (deceased person) to decide who they wish to be an executor. Additionally, they can choose anyone they like, as long as that individual is 18 years of age or over. Common choices include spouses or children, which means executors can also be included in the will, too.

On the practical side, the executors appointed may be legal representatives and individuals with sufficient experience instead.

An executor must be a trustworthy person, one who is able to follow the testator’s instructions.

What Happens if You Don’t Have an Executor?

A situation might arise where parties cannot elect or find a capable executor to administer the estate. In such cases, there is a government official who is able to step in should you be in need as a last resort.

Can a Chosen Executor be Removed from a Will?

Dismissing the executor of a will is the responsibility of the testator during the course of their life. However, following the testator’s death, removing the chosen executor becomes more difficult.

But the application to remove an executor (by way of application to the court) is not unheard of, either. In short, a court can remove the executor from a will if one of the following things occur.

  • First, if it can be proven the executor is incapable of performing the duties of the executor role.
  • Second, if they are unsuitable for the position.
  • Third, if since the death of the testator they are now ineligible to serve as an executor.
  • Fourth, if they are acting unreasonably and not in the testator’s best interests (‘best interest’ is a determination of the court).

Also, if there exists a severe conflict of interest.

Finally, if there are any legal ineligibility criteria. For instance, mental conditions which prevent the executor from acting as the role demands.

How is an Executor Removed From a Will?

The removal of an executor can only take place through court proceedings. Accordingly, the High Court will decide on the manner of removal using the details and reasons listed above. Moreover, they’ll attempt to address the future administration of the estate.

To begin these proceedings following the death of the testator, the relevant party must file for a court proceeding. This individual needs to have a share of the will to have the ability to file to remove an executor.

Once court proceedings start, the legal representatives for the executor and the individual filing for removal will show why they either believe they must remain or leave as the executor. The reason for removal requires establishing.

If you are concerned that the executor of an estate is not acting correctly, contact us for advice. We work with leading solicitors who specialise in handling executor disputes to resolve issues swiftly and fairly.

At The Inheritance Experts, we can offer support and advice to appoint or remove an executor. Contact us today should you wish to discuss.

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