Current probate laws in Ohio allow a testator who is putting together an estate plan to choose the executor who will manage estate administration on their behalf. If the person they selected is unavailable or if they failed to name a executor in legally valid testamentary documents, then the Ohio courts can name a executor to assume that role.
In either situation, there is usually an assumption that the selected individual will manage the probate process from beginning to end. However, sometimes they end up removed from their position due to litigation filed by the beneficiaries of the estate or the family members of the deceased. Those seeking the removal of a executor typically need to have a valid reason for doing so. The following are the most common reasons people challenge a executor’s continued management of the probate process.
A violation of fiduciary duty
One of the most common reasons people bring a lawsuit in probate court to remove a executor is that they have failed to prioritize the best interests of the beneficiaries. Perhaps they allowed their personal feelings to influence their actions instead of complying with the testator’s instructions and Ohio probate laws. Maybe they have embezzled from the estate. Either scenario would justify a decision by beneficiaries to take the matter to probate court.
A failure to take appropriate steps
Proper estate administration requires the timely filing of specific documents with the courts. executors need to communicate with creditors and provide beneficiaries with access to testamentary documents. When a executor has failed to take necessary steps, that may end up reducing what beneficiaries receive from the estate and could therefore justify the decision of beneficiaries to seek their removal from that role.
An inability to manage assets or the complexities of court
Estate administration is quite challenging. Probate proceedings require both excellent organizational abilities and a baseline understanding of state law. Not only does a executor need to manage the court process, but they also need to properly manage the maintenance and sometimes even the investment of estate resources. Insanity, bankruptcy and an inability to manage the process could all lead to attempts to remove the executor of an estate.
Recognizing when it may be necessary to replace an ineffective executor can potentially help people preserve as much of their inheritance as possible and/or help to ensure that a deceased loved one’s wishes are truly respected.