Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


Protecting Clients’ Rights. Working To Solve Problems.

Steps to take if you suspect executor misconduct

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Probate

Executors bear the weighty responsibility of protecting an estate and carrying out a will in line with the deceased’s intentions. However, the substantial assets involved in some estates can entice executors into exploiting their position for personal gain. If you are concerned that an executor is neglecting their fiduciary duties, you can file a petition for their removal and replacement.

Signs an executor may be mishandling the estate

Executor misconduct can delay probate administration and leave your loved one’s assets vulnerable. Watch out for the following red flags, which may indicate it’s time for you to act.

  • Fails to notify or communicate with beneficiaries promptly
  • Does not pay creditors
  • Provides an incomplete or delinquent inventory of assets
  • Cannot account for missing assets
  • Consistently misses crucial deadlines
  • Neglects the terms of the will
  • Unnecessarily withholds inheritance from beneficiaries
  • Sells estate assets for less than their actual value
  • Fails to document transactions and other financial records accurately

Not every executor who fails their role is seeking personal gain. There are executors who miss deadlines or struggle with paperwork because they are overwhelmed by the process or do not fully understand their responsibilities. Regardless, such oversights can significantly delay probate administration and lead to complications.

What you can do

If there are signs that the executor is mishandling the estate, acting promptly to address the situation may prevent more losses. However, it may be smart to discuss your concerns with an attorney first. Rushing to confront the executor or filing a petition without solid preparation could endanger the estate.

The court will only consider removing an executor if there are strong reasons to do so. Mere delays may not be enough, but evidence of serious infractions may compel the judge to grant your request.

Exercising vigilance is just the first step in ensuring the proper management and execution of your loved one’s estate. If you believe the executor is not up to the task, consider consulting an attorney to understand your options.