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Refusal to Remove Executor

In an earlier blog post, I commend on what grounds a court will rely upon to remove an executor. In this blog post, I review a recent decision in which the court refused to remove an executor.

In Nguyen v. Pham (2015), there was friction between two trustees, who were the deceased’s surviving spouse and daughter from a previous relationship. The dispute appeared to center around the operation of a business owned by the deceased, which was the major asset of the estate.

On consent, the parties obtained an order securing the assets of the estate pending a trial. Despite the estate being evidently secured on an interim basis, the daughter asked the court to remove her step-mother as trustee. The court refused.

In refusing to remove the spouse as co-trustee, Justice Douglas considered that each trustee was so closely watching the other that it was unlikely that either would get away with any mismanagement. In the words of Justice Douglas: “…so long as each party is watchful over the actions of the other, I believe it unlikely that administration of the estate will be endangered although it will undoubtedly proceed imperfectly.”

The case is notably because it illustrates that something more than the expectation of lack of cooperation is required before the court will remove an estate trustee. Evidently, an imperfect administration was chosen over a removal. Thanks for reading,

Jason