If an estate or trust isn’t being managed correctly, there are some actions you can take.

Is the estate or trust being managed correctly?

First of all, you’ll need to be able to show that an executor or trustee isn’t fulfilling their responsibilities or if they’ve done something illegal.

  1. Are they stealing from the estate or trust?
  2. Have they failed to carry out the wishes outlined in the Will, trust?
  3. Have they been convicted of a felony after being named executor or trustee?

These are reasons a court may consider removing an executor or trustee. If the executor or trustee is simply taking a long time with a reasonable excuse, it’s unlikely the court will act.

What can you do? (Petitioning the Court)

So what can you do? If you think an executor or trustee has done something serious enough to warrant being removed, then you can petition the court. Then there is a hearing where all parties get to speak. At that point, the court can decide to remove an executor or trustee, or keep them if they agree to start being transparent and doing their job correctly and timely.

Get Help From an Attorney

If you have any concerns that someone isn’t following through with their executor duties, you have rights and should speak with a trust and estate litigation attorney. We’re here to help make sense of the process and guide you to the best resolution possible.    


What are my rights if an executor or the trustee is not doing their job?

This is an extremely common question.

An example of a normal conversation is, “My brother, my sister, etc., is the trustee or the executor and they just don’t seem to be doing their job. I am not getting any information, they haven’t sold the house, it’s been a year. There seems to be money or personal property missing or there’s just outright hostility.”

In these situations, firms will be retained to demand that the trustee/executor start doing their jobs. A form of communicating this can be done through a letter stating, “We are demanding the following information, all the documents, all the financial institutions that you’re working with and the plan of action.”

Usually the court will require that you sent something like that before you file a petition with the court saying, “Hey court, we’ve asked them, they’re not doing their job, please have them do an accounting and or remove them as trustee or executor if they’re not doing they’re job.”

When we file those, invariably what happens is about 95% of the time, the trustee or the executor calls another attorney. And we’re actually usually happy about that because their attorney can advise them on what to start doing right.

We have had quite a few times when we had to file that petition and we have had success in removing trustees who were simply not realizing it’s their job to be impartial and to do what the documents say. When they’re not doing it, the probate courts and the probate code have really great rules to protect the beneficiaries and heirs including potentially recovering legal costs of having and go after the person.

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