When you are party to an estate in Los Angeles, the perception often is that you are at the will of the estate's executor. In reality, however, an executor's role is simply to ensure that your interests in the estate are protected as per the instructions of the testator. From this perspective, the duties that an executor has to you become more clear. Many come to us here at The Law Office of Matthew C. Yu wondering what recourse might be available to them if an executor fails in meeting those duties.
Per Section 8500 of the California Probate Code, you (or any interested party to an estate) can indeed petition that one be removed from the role of executor. Of course, the court will typically only consider such a request if there is a valid reason to do so. Personality conflicts or your displeasure in the way that an executor performs his or her duties may not be viewed as sufficient cause to to replace him or her. Instead, the law recognizes the following actions as justifying one's removal from such a role:
- Wasting, mismanaging or embezzling estate funds
- Committing fraud against the estate
- Being found to be unqualified or incapable or performing the role of executor
- Neglecting to fulfill one's obligations to the estate
- To protect the interest of the estate's beneficiaries
One not necessarily need to be found to have actually caused harm to an estate to be removed as executor; proof of an intent to do so may also justify such action. Even after an executor is removed, he or she is still liable to you and other beneficiaries for any financial losses due to his or her actions. More information on an executor's roles and responsibilities can be found here on our site.