It is up to an executor who has been appointed under a will to ensure that the testator’s assets are properly distributed. If an executor does not do this in a timely manner or appropriately, beneficiaries may find themselves waiting for property that is rightfully theirs or seeing a loved one’s estate mishandled. In these cases, a beneficiary may have a few options for having matters handled.
The first option available when an executor is not doing his or her job is to send a formal demand letter requesting they fulfill their duties. In some cases, this is all the push that is needed. However, if this is not sufficient, the next step may be to have a lawyer also send a formal demand letter.
When letters from a beneficiary and a lawyer are not enough to get an executor to begin doing their job appropriately, the last option is to file a suit to have the executor removed. At this point, a beneficiary can either petition to have themselves be named as the executor, have a third party named or have the individual named in the will as the successor executor given these duties. In the cases where the court does not have the current executor replaced, it is normal for a strict and detailed timeline to be put in place.
Along with appointing an individual as an executor who can be trusted to carry out the required duties competently and in a timely manner, it is also essential that the will is up to date and complies with current laws. If it is not, a will may be declared invalid, with the testator’s assets instead being distributed in accordance with the applicable state law of intestacy. This could produce a far different result than what the testator had wished.