The executor of a will is the person appointed to carry out the instructions provided by the testator. They are also responsible for trying for maximum gain when it comes to sharing out assets, such as selling property at the right time to receive the highest return, or being responsible for the correct amount of taxes. More than one person can be elected as an executor, but many people find that one dedicated person is more constructive.
Who is Eligible to be an Executor?
It is up to the testator to decide who they wish to be an executor, and they can choose anyone they like, as long as that individual is 18 years of age or over. Common choices include spouses or children, which means executors can also be included in the will, too. On the practical side, legal representatives and experienced individuals may instead be appointed.
An executor must be a trusted person, and an individual equipped to follow the testator’s instructions.
What Happens if You Don’t Have an Executor?
If the situation arises where a capable executor cannot be found or elected, then there is a government official who is able to step in should you be in need as a last resort.
Can a Chosen Executor be Removed?
The executor of a will can very easily be dismissed by the testator and replaced by another during the course of their life. However, following the testator’s death, removing the chosen executor can be difficult.
A court can remove the executor from a will, if one of the following reasons apply:
- If it can be proven that the executor is incapable of performing the duties which have been assigned to them
- If they are unsuitable for the position
- If they have become disqualified since the death of the testator
- If they are not acting in the best interests of the testator, as required (the definition of ‘best interest’ hereby decided by the court)
- If there is a severe conflict of interest
- If there are any legal ineligibility criteria, such as mental conditions which prevent the executor from acting as required
How Do You Remove an Executor?
The removal of an executor can only take place through court proceedings, in which the court will decide on the manner of removal using the details and reasons listed above. To begin these proceedings following the death of the testator, the relevant party must file for a court proceeding. This individual needs to have been left a share of the will to have the ability to file to remove an executor.
Once court proceedings have commenced, the legal representatives for both parties (the executor and the individual filing to have them removed) will show why they either believe they must remain as the executor, or be removed. The reason for removal should be clearly established.
If you are concerned that the executor of an estate is not acting correctly, contact us for advice. We work with leading solicitors who specialise in handling executor disputes to resolve issues swiftly and fairly.
At The Inheritance Experts, we can offer support and advice regarding the appointing of an executor, or the removal of one. Contact us today should you wish to discuss.