After the death of a loved one, it can take some time for reality to sink in. Denial is a common component of grief, especially when a death happens suddenly or unexpectedly. Regardless of the nature of your loss, at some point, your mind will turn to practical considerations.
If your loved one had a last will or estate plan, they likely named someone to serve as executor of their estate. Unfortunately, some people entrusted with authority abuse that trust. You can challenge someone who can’t or won’t properly fulfill their obligations as an executor.
Challenging an executor is not the same thing as challenging the estate. Instead of bringing a challenge against the terms of the last will, you allege to the courts that the person charged with carrying out the last wishes of someone else has failed to do so properly. In some cases, the person named as executor just doesn’t have the time to attend to the estate as needed. Other times, people could intentionally steal assets from an estate.
It may take some time for you to realize that the executor of an estate for which you are a beneficiary is not doing a very good job. Still, if you pay close attention, there are some warning signs about executors who don’t do their duty properly.
Many people create an estate plan and then never update or change it. While that can be beneficial because everyone understands what the estate plan includes, it can also be detrimental because situations and relationships change. The person your loved one entrusted with the authority of handling their earthly affairs may no longer have the mental acuity to handle all of the tasks involved.
Even if there hasn’t been any sort of cognitive decline, it is possible for the executor to no longer have the time to commit to the administration of the estate. This could be due to caring for an ailing loved one, a difficult job or a lack of general proximity. If the executor has moved out of the state, they may not be present frequently enough to truly handle the responsibilities that come with an estate.
Sometimes, it is not that a person has not attended to an estate, but rather that the actions they have taken violate the terms of the last will or estate plan. Some people will abuse their position as executor to gain control of valuable assets once held by the testator.
If you have any reason to believe that the executor of the estate has taken assets for their own benefit or the benefit of other individuals contrary to the wishes of the deceased, that could be a reason to question the intentions and capabilities of the executor.
When an executor abuses their authority or shows that they don’t have the time or capability to managing the estate, it may be necessary to challenge their role so that someone capable or willing to follow your loved one’s wishes can assume the position of executor.