Estate planning can be a sensitive subject, no matter how old the person might be. In fact, almost half of Americans 55 or older have not put any official plan in writing. For those who have actually taken the time to put together a will, many have locked it away and may never review it again.
If your parent designated an executor many years ago, it is possible that the choice is no longer appropriate now that your mother or father has passed. Review these tips before you consider removing this person from the role.
Leave emotions at the door
It is not unusual for parents to choose one of their adult children to act as executor, so it is likely that your brother or sister is currently handling the estate. Sibling relationships can be tense, but it is important that you evaluate the situation without bringing personal vendettas into it.
To have just cause to remove the executor, you should ignore any emotional baggage and focus solely on the facts. Is your brother or sister doing a poor job of managing affairs? Do you suspect him or her of withholding information or filing information improperly?
On the other hand, if you think the executor is not treating your stake fairly because of personal feelings against you, this may be a valid reason. These suspicions are worth exploring.
Investigate evidence of wrongdoing
One duty an executor has is tracking down any outstanding debt your parent may have to attempt to resolve it. Assets are the first source of settlement funds. If your sibling ignores this responsibility or tries to pass off a personal withdrawal as a debt payment, it can mean serious legal trouble for your brother or sister. Not only that, but these failures may impact your own inheritance.
Any sign of fraud or neglect is grounds for further investigation. If there is appropriate evidence, the courts can designate someone else. You do not have to stand by while your sibling makes a mess of your parent’s estate.