This is the next post in our series on preventing and otherwise dealing with executor misconduct during a Connecticut probate. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the importance of speaking with an attorney as soon as possible if you have concerns about an executor. The longer you allow a problematic executor to stay in place then the greater the possibility that the heirs of the estate will suffer damages. In this article we will discuss the fact that it is more difficult in Connecticut, than it is in many other states, to prevent an executor from being appointed. If you are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Connecticut places few restrictions on who may serve as the executor of an estate
Connecticut law does not automatically disqualify most individuals from being eligible to serve as the executor of an estate. This is different from other jurisdictions. Texas, for example, automatically disqualifies anyone who has been convicted of a felony, any non-Texan who is not utilizing a resident agent, and other classes of individuals. Furthermore, Texas allows for an executor’s appointment to be challenged on the grounds that they are “unsuitable,” with little guidance being given as to what constitutes suitability. Connecticut, by contrast, will allow most individuals to serve as an executor. Our Courts will, however, reject an executor if they are found to be incompetent, after holding a formal hearing to determine their competency. In other words, if you disapprove of who is named the executor of a Connecticut probate, there is likely little you can do to prevent the appointment.
The Court has an order which it will follow when determining who should serve as the executor of an estate. First, the Court will always look to the decedent’s last will and testament to determine if an executor has been named. If no executor is named, then the Court is required to give priority to the decedent’s family members when choosing an administrator. An administrator has essentially the same authority and responsibility as an executor but an administrator is appointed by the Court whereas an executor is named in the decedent’s will. If it appears to the Court that no family member could properly serve as administrator, then the Judge may appoint a third-party, such as an attorney, to the role. Reasons for which the Judge may reject a family member can include, for example, a proposed administrator who has been convicted of a felony and is unable to obtain a required probate bond as a result. Any concerns you have regarding a proposed executor should be raised with your attorney immediately.
Executors or Administrators can be removed from a Connecticut probate after they have been appointed
The executor or administrator of any estate must meet their fiduciary obligations to the heirs. They must also handle the estate in a timely and competent manner. If an executor/administrator is failing to meet the obligations, or if they are engaging in unethical conduct, then it is possible to have them removed from their role. Common reasons for requesting the removal of an executor or administrator can include the co-mingling of estate assets with their own property, the misappropriation of estate assets, self-dealing, and more. Whether an executor’s conduct rises to the level of having them removed will depend on the specific facts of the situation and it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you.
If you are concerned about the executor of an estate then contact us today to speak with a Hartford probate lawyer. We have been assisting our local community for decades and we are proud of the level of service which we provide. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.