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Can an administrator of an estate be removed?

When a loved one passes away, the aftermath can be confusing and stressful. The probate process can leave you feeling uneasy and impatient. If you do not approve of how the personal representative handles the estate, you may wonder if it is possible to have the probate court remove him or her. 

It is possible to remove an executor of an estate under certain circumstances. Here are some common legal grounds for filing a removal petition. 

Wastefulness or mismanagement

The administrator of the estate has a responsibility to manage the estate without wasting funds or depleting assets. This requires probating the estate in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Maladministration of the estate may come at the expense of you and other beneficiaries. If the executor is mishandling the assets while wasting your time and money, you may be able to pursue removal

Conflict of interest

For a personal representative to fulfill his or her duties, he or she must not have a conflict that interferes with the probate process. But the degree of the conflict of interest is essential. For example, just because an executor is also an heir does not necessarily mean a removal is appropriate. This is because someone inheriting from an estate has a good reason to properly manage the assets. The conflict must make it essentially impossible for the executor to serve the role in good faith. For example, if the representative guarantees a loan to the estate, it may be enough of a conflict to justify removal. 

Physical or mental incapacity

The administrator must be in a healthy physical and mental condition to carry out the necessary duties. If he or she develops a mental impairment or suffers a serious injury, he or she may not be able to fulfill the requirements. An example is if someone nominates his or her spouse as the executor and dies many years later, while the executor develops dementia.

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