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When the executor of an estate fails to do anything

| Jul 8, 2020 | Estate Litigation |

Closing out a loved one’s estate, whether the process is completed in New Jersey or elsewhere, is not necessarily easy. Even if the deceased did everything right and created an estate plan that included the designation of an executor, the actions of the executor may not sit well with beneficiaries. There are plenty of things an executor and beneficiaries may not agree on throughout the probate process, but no one expects the executor to do absolutely nothing. What can you do if the executor of your loved one’s estate fails to start the probate process?

The executor has a significant job to complete. It can be overwhelming, and not everyone assigned to the position is prepared for all that it entails. Some may even drag their feet, feeling probate is something that does not require their immediate attention. No matter the reason for failing to open a probate case, beneficiaries have every right to be concerned with an executor’s failure to act.

The good news is that an individual designated as the executor of an estate does not necessarily have to be the one to take responsibility for closing it. Here are a few ways this type of situation can be handled. First, if this individual has been qualified as the executor but then fails to act, beneficiaries may petition to have him or her removed from the position. Second, if there are two executors named in an estate plan — one as the primary and the other as a successor — the successor could request the primary be disqualified. Finally, third, if the problem comes down to the designated executor not wanting the job, he or she could renounce the role, and any other interested party could petition the court to take over. 

If you are dealing with an executor who is not performing his or her duties, it is best to address the situation as soon as possible. Legal counsel may be able to help you petition the appropriate New Jersey court to have the executor dismissed. To learn more about how an experienced attorney may be able to assist you, please take a moment and visit our firm’s website.