Naming an executor to carry out a will is one of the most important decisions a resident in California can make. An executor's task is to guard the property of a deceased person until all outstanding taxes and debts are taken care of, after which the remaining assets are given to the recipients listed in the will. However, some people may find problems with an executor after he or she has been appointed. According to California law, there is recourse if an executor exhibits certain problems.
California probate code 8402 as listed on the Findlaw site spells out basic qualifications for an estate executor. First, an executor must be aged eighteen or older. An underage person cannot personally represent an estate. The executor must also not be subject to the conservatorship of the estate. Incapacity is another factor. The individual should be capable of carrying out the duties of an executor. Physical or mental inability can bar someone from acting as an executor.
In the event an executor is suspected of abusing the position, California probate code 8502 provides grounds for the executor to be removed. Possible offenses include embezzlement, waste, mismanagement or fraud as it pertains to the estate. Additionally, an executor can be ousted if the person is about to commit any of these actions. Further grounds for dismissal include neglecting the estate or extended delinquency in carrying out the required duties of an executor. Finally, grounds for dismissing an executor exist if removing the executor is necessary to protect the estate or the interested parties.
While ousting an executor may be necessary to preserve the original intent of the will of the deceased and the interests of the parties that would benefit, challenges to an executor can involve a case in probate court. In such cases, the services of a knowledgeable lawyer may be required to navigate the law as it pertains to a probate proceeding.