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Warning signs that you may need to challenge an executor

Most people coping with the death of their loved ones are grateful that they don’t have to be the ones to handle the estate’s administration. Being a beneficiary and not needing to worry about handling taxes or other financial obligations can make it easier to handle the grieving process and move on with your life.

You probably trust that your loved one made the best decision regarding the person they need to handle their estate. Unfortunately, not everyone named as executor can live up to the obligations such a position creates. There are situations in which you may have to challenge an executor and ask the probate courts to step in to protect you and other beneficiaries.

Take action if an executor is completely inactive

Many of the duties associated with estate administration are time-sensitive. Your loved one’s taxes and utility bills, for example, must get paid in a timely manner. The value of certain assets will diminish if they are left unmaintained or unoccupied for an extended amount of time.

Unfortunately, some people appointed to serve as an executor don’t have the time or availability to manage all of the duties involved in the role. If the executor has not submitted the will to probate and has not settled any accounts held by the deceased despite it having been weeks or months since the date of their death, you may need to challenge the executor’s inaction.

Watch for signs of inappropriate management

Some people simply don’t have the focus, organization or intelligence to successfully manage an estate. Others will try to use their position for personal gain. An executor should do their best to maximize the value of an estate and its assets. They should also try to act in the best interests of the estate or its beneficiaries, rather than themselves, when making decisions about the estate and its assets.

Whether an executor has diminished value of an estate through incompetence or by conducting sales and deals that will benefit them instead of the estate itself, you may find yourself in a position where the best course of action involves challenging the executor and the decisions they’ve made.


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