Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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Detailing how and why an executor may be dismissed

For those who are interested parties to an estate in Woodland Hills, the actions of the estate’s executor are of particular interest. Any missteps or mismanagement on his or her part could potentially impact the estate’s assets and property. Thus, it becomes important for such interested parties to know exactly what the fiduciary responsibilities of an executor are in order to know if one may be in violation of them.

The exact duties of an executor may be too complex to list here. However, The American Bar Association gives a good summary of what they may be. In short, an estate executor must make a full disclosure of his or her actions along with acting fairly in the interest of both heirs and creditors. While the duties given in this summary may be open to interpretation, California law lists specific scenarios where an executor may have created cause for his or her dismissal. These include:

  •          The executor not being qualified to carry out the responsibilities of the office.
  •          The executor willfully neglecting the affairs of the estate.
  •          The executor being under suspicion of or proven of wasting, mismanaging, or embezzling estate assets, or committing fraud against the estate.
  •          The executor’s removal being necessary to protect the estate itself or any parties interested in it.

If interested parties to an estate have cause to believe that the executor has breached his or her duties or left them unfulfilled, they may petition the court for his or removal. The court will then hold a hearing to review the case for dismissal, during which the time the executor may object to the claims being made against him of her. Failure to appear at this hearing by the executor may prompt his or her immediate removal from the office. 

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