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When can someone challenge the executor of an estate?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Estate Planning

The executor of an estate plays a crucial role in ensuring the deceased’s wishes happen. While they can claim some expenses, it is effectively a voluntary role – unless the deceased instructed a professional to cover the role for a fee.

Yet, just because someone is taking on the role out of kindness rather than for reward does not guarantee they will do it well or honestly. While most executors do an honest and thorough job, the odd one won’t. They’ll either fail to carry out their duties properly or use their position to benefit themselves. What can you do if you suspect the executor of a loved one’s estate of this?

Determine if you have the correct legal standing to file a challenge

Only a limited group of people can challenge a will. So, if you suspect foul play and you are not one of them, you may need to share your concerns with one of them so they can take the lead.

Understand the consequences of a challenge

Emotions can run high during the weeks and months following a loved one’s passing. Make sure this does not cloud your judgment. If you are considering filing a contest or even mentioning your suspicions about the executor to others, you need to take time to reflect on whether it is the right move. Accusing someone, even if it later turns out you are correct, could cause deep family divisions. 

Taking impartial legal guidance to assess your situation is a sensible first move if you believe there are issues with an executor.