When might you need to challenge the administration of an estate?
After someone passes away, his or her estate must be settled. This requires distributing personal belongings, contacting heirs, filing paperwork and ensuring his or her wishes are respected, which are all tasks overseen or handled by the estate administrator.
In many cases, this process goes smoothly when the administrator is adequately prepared and loved ones are satisfied with his or her efforts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and disputes arise regarding the administration of an estate. Under these circumstances, parties may take legal action to remove the estate administrator.
There are a few common reasons that might spark removal efforts, which we examine below.
An estate administrator has considerable financial power, and that comes with a duty to act responsibly. Breaching this duty can be grounds for legal action. Inappropriate spending, fraud and other financial misconduct are among the most common reasons for an administrator to face removal.
Failure to complete duties
If a representative does not file taxes, contact heirs or comply with other requirements of a person’s estate, then he or she could face removal and replacement. Whether this failure is due to an unwillingness or inability to complete the duties, removal may be appropriate.
Refusing to work with family members
An estate administrator is expected to act in the best interests of the decedent. However, this doesn’t mean he or she can abuse or neglect beneficiaries and other parties. If this happens, these parties may attempt to remove the administrator.
To see real-world examples of these situations, you can read about the recent efforts by the heirs of legendary musician, Prince. In that case, petitioners are seeking a new administrator based on allegations that the current estate administrator has mismanaged financial elements of the estate, failed to protect certain assets and favored certain heirs unfairly.
If you are dealing with similar issues in the administration of your loved one’s estate, then it can be a good idea to discuss your concerns with an estate planning attorney.