Estate & Probate Law:
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Everything You Need To Know About The Executor Of An Estate
An executor is a person specified in a will to handle administrative tasks on behalf of the estate. The responsibilities generally include:
- Accounting of the assets and debts
- Paying taxes and debts
- Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries
When an executor fails to carry out the terms, cannot discharge his or her duties or engages in misconduct, it may become necessary to take legal action to remove an executor. This is a complicated legal matter, requiring an experienced executor removal attorney to ensure that the process goes smoothly. It is important to act quickly when you believe the removal of an executor is warranted, before more harm is done to the assets of the estate.
With that said here are 4 critical facts you need to know about executors and estates:
The information below is a summary of Roman Aminov's published article "Removing The Executor of An Estate In NYS & NYC" (click to read the complete article).
1. Any person with an “interest” in the estate has standing to petition for the removal of an executor. This means broadly that it can be any person that stands to lose or gain money from the estate, but typically it is either a beneficiary or a creditor.
2. There are many reasons why an executor may need to be removed, including substance abuse, mental illness or other conditions. The following are the grounds that are typically the basis of a legal action to remove an executor:
- Removal of assets from the estate
- Failure to notify the court of a change of address
- An inability to property manage the affairs of the estate
- Mismanagement of assets
- Dishonesty or deception about the condition of the estate
The legal elements of these grounds must be proved to the satisfaction of the court in order to remove the executor. This exacting legal work requires the skills and talent of an experienced executor removal attorney in NY.
3. An executor has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of an estate, and when that duty is breached, they can be held liable for the losses. If it can be proven that the executor acting negligently in the performance of their duties, caused a loss of assets, an action can be brought against the executor for money damages. If you have standing to seek removal of an executor, you may also be entitled to money damages for your losses. You should discuss this with the best wills and trusts lawyer you can find, to protect your interests.
4. New York does not require you to hire an attorney to remove an executor, but as this is one of the most complicated areas of the law, you would be best served by at least consulting with an experienced executor removal attorney to find out whether or not there are grounds for removal. If grounds exist, and you are entitled to collect a substantial amount of money that is at risk due to the actions of an executor, you would likely be best served by making the investment in hiring an attorney.
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