I DON’T AGREE WITH THE EXECUTOR OF
A LOVED ONE’S ESTATE: WHAT CAN I DO?
July 30, 2021
It is always difficult when a loved one passes away, whether their passing was expected or not. As you grieve, you must deal with the practical facts of death, including your loved one’s estate. However, according to recent statistics from Gallup, less than half (46%) of Americans have a valid will that describes how they would like their money and assets to be handled after their death.
When a loved one passes away and leaves no will, their estate goes through the process of probate. This process is used to settle their estate and final affairs. The executor of the estate will be the one who handles the probate process. However, if there is no will, state laws will dictate who gets appointed as executor of the estate.
Ideally, that person is someone who is best suited for the job — but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Too often someone is appointed as executor, despite the fact that they may not have the family’s best interests at heart. If this is the case, you can seek to remove them as the executor of the estate.
If you lost a loved one recently and are looking for guidance on what actions you can take when you don’t agree with the executor of the estate, call or reach out to our firm, the Bond Law Office. Whether you are looking to change the executor of an estate in Fayetteville or Fort Smith, Arkansas, or the surrounding areas of Harrison, Eureka Springs, Clarksville, Waldron, Mena, Van Buren, or The Arkansas River Valley — we can help. We’re here to support your family during this difficult time.
Valid Reasons to Remove an Executor
Remember, it is possible to remove the executor of an estate or will. There are two situations where this typically happens: when the executor is engaged in misconduct or when it’s in the best interest of the proper administration of the will.
Executor misconduct can be a serious issue. Misconduct includes not being able to carry out the executor’s duties. For example, if the executor is convicted of a felony, that can be considered misconduct.
A common form of misconduct is when the executor fails to account for estate assets — as in, when the person passed away, the estate had $100,000 assets, but now, $30,000 is missing. Another form of executor misconduct is when they use estate funds for personal expenses or other improper uses. Not complying with a court order is another form of misconduct.
Unfortunately, executors oftentimes do mismanage estates. It is up to the beneficiaries of the will to go to probate court if they believe that executor misconduct is taking place.
Proper Administration of The Will
From time to time, an executor is appointed whose involvement in the distribution of the deceased’s estate would lead to a conflict of interest. This is rare, but it can happen. If, for example, the deceased person had loaned their executor $10,000, the executor is unlikely to pay that $10,000 back to the estate. If this is the case for a will in probate in Arkansas, then it is important to act promptly. An attorney can help you decide on the best course of action.
It is possible to change the executor of an estate through probate court. To do so, the beneficiaries of the estate must go to probate court to request the removal of the executor. An experienced Arkansas probate attorney can help walk you through this process and advocate for your needs and the needs of any other beneficiaries.
Choosing a Replacement Executor in Arkansas
When choosing a replacement executor, it’s a good idea to avoid out-of-state individuals and banks or trust companies. Someone living outside of Arkansas is less likely to be able to handle the day-to-day matters of the estate. In Arkansas, someone living out-of-state who is the executor must appoint someone who lives in the county where the estate is being probated to act as an agent.
If you are considering a bank or a trust company to act as the executor, then you should know that the company must be authorized to act as a fiduciary in Arkansas. This is why it’s usually a better idea to choose an individual who lives in the state.
Sometimes, there will be an alternate choice for the executor listed in the will. Unless there’s a legal reason that person can’t serve as an executor, the probate court will likely appoint that person. If no alternate is listed, then the state will provide a priority list of those who could serve as executors.
Let Bond Law Office Help
The process of changing the executor of an estate can be complicated to navigate on your own. Luckily, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Our legal team here at the Bond Law Office is standing by ready to help you and your family reach a resolution. You can visit our offices in Fayetteville or Fort Smith, Arkansas to learn more about how to go about changing the executor of your loved one’s estate.
Our firm is also proud to serve individuals and families in Harrison, Eureka Springs, Clarksville, Waldron, Mena, Van Buren, or The Arkansas River Valley — so call today to learn more about how we can help you with your situation.