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Removing and Replacing an Executor

It is not uncommon for disputes to arise between executors and beneficiaries of an estate. The main “trouble areas” often involve allegations that the executor is taking too long to manage the estate or is otherwise engaging in mismanagement of the estate assets. In some circumstances, a dissatisfied beneficiary can apply to the court for an order removing the executor.

The following are the grounds most frequently cited in court applications as factors which justify an executor’s removal:

  1. The trustee has committed a breach of trust

  2. The trustee is acting in a conflict of interest (putting his or her personal interests ahead of his or her duty as trustee)

  3. The trustee does not account to the beneficiary

  4. The trustee fails to administer the estate in a timely manner

  5. There is a high degree of friction between the trustee and the beneficiary, such that the administration is impaired

  6. The trustee does not act in the interests of the beneficiary

  7. The trustee’s actions or inactions have caused a loss to the estate

  8. There is litigation or potential litigation involving the trustee in relation to the estate

There are of course several options available to a beneficiary who is concerned with an executor’s conduct, and a court application may not necessarily be the best course of action. Each case must be assessed on its own merits. Thanks for reading,

Jason