One of the key responsibilities of the person drafting a will, or testator, is to select the executor of their estate. The individual appointed to this role is responsible for preserving the value of its assets, filing its final tax return, paying creditors and distributing what’s left in the estate to any heirs. It’s a sign of trusts for a testator to appoint you to this role. Being given it doesn’t mean that the heirs will agree that you’re worthy of it, though.
Testators are supposed to regularly revisit their wills to make sure that they continue to reflect their wishes. Few do, though. If a will was written a long time ago, then the testator may have since died. Their ability to trust them may have faltered as well. The role of the probate judge is to make sure that your final wishes are carried out, though, including having your executor handle your affairs.
If the testator has passed or they aren’t as trustworthy as they once were, then it may be possible to have their duties passed on to an alternate. Anyone of “standing,” or someone who has a legal interest in the matter, can petition a judge to have any executor who isn’t trustworthy removed from their role.
In order for you to be successful in convincing a Bridgewater judge that a personal representative, or executor, should be removed from their role, you’ll have to make sure that your reasoning aligns with one of New Jersey’s many grounds for doing so. Some potential justifications include an executor having a conflict of interest, being incompetent or engaging in misconduct.
If the executor over your loved one’s estate has failed to carry out their responsibilities in a timely fashion, then this may be deemed to be misconduct. If their inaction has caused the assets held by the estate to decline in value, this may be an example of incompetence.
Once you file Motion to Remove Executor, the probate judge will hold a hearing to learn more about why you believe that the executor should be removed from their role. If you make a convincing argument, then they’ll appoint someone else to the role in accordance with state law.
An attorney who listens first and advises second is who you will want providing you with guidance during the probate process including requesting a new executor.