This is the next post in our series on preventing and dealing with executor or administrator misconduct during probate in Hartford and other Connecticut areas. Our last article discussed the possibility of preventing an executor from being appointed. If you are concerned about who will serve as the personal representative in your case then it is important that you take action as soon as possible. Waiting to do so can make it harder to prevent, or undo, the appointment. Contacting an experienced attorney is the first step involved in taking such action. In this article we will discuss the possibility of removing an executor after they have already been appointed. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a probate lawyer.
Connecticut has legal requirements which must be met in order to remove an estate’s executor or administrator
A Connecticut Probate Court will not remove an executor or administrator simply because the heirs wish it. In order for the Court to consider removal, the requesting parties must show any of the following:
- That the executor or administrator has shown him or herself to be incapable of completing their duties or that they are simply neglecting to complete them
- That the executor or administrator is wasting the estate’s assets
- That the executor or administrator has failed to post a required bond
- That a lack of cooperation between the executor or administrator and other fiduciaries is hindering the administration of the estate
- If the Court determines that the best interest of the beneficiaries would be served by the removal after the executor or administrator fails or neglects to administer the estate
- If a substantial change of circumstances has created a situation in which removal is the best interest of the beneficiaries
The Court will look to objective facts when determining whether any of the aforementioned situations exist. Furthermore, the Court’s definition of hindering or delaying the probate will often differ from that of the heirs. While it is common for heirs to believe that a probate is taking too long, the Court is unlikely to take action unless the personal representative is clearly neglecting their duties.
Consider the following example. Joe Executor is managing the estate while also working at a full-time job. As part of his duties, Joe must file outstanding tax returns related to the estate. Because of his work schedule, Joe takes an additional week to meet with the accountant and file the returns. He does so at his earliest opportunity. Under this scenario, the Court would be unlikely to say that Joe is neglecting his duties. Now suppose that he had not signed the necessary tax documents due to the fact that he took an impromptu two-week vacation. Even after returning from vacation, he had continued to neglect meeting with the accountant while continuing to engage in personal affairs. Under this scenario, the Court may see Joe’s actions as negligent. It must be remembered, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case.
The process of removing a Connecticut Executor or Administrator
The first step in removing an executor or administrator from a Connecticut probate is to file a Complaint with the Probate Court. The litigation process will then proceed and, depending on the size and composition of the estate, it may become highly complicated. This complication can include the propounding of discovery, the filing of Motions, and possibly attending a trial. It is important that this process be initiated quickly, if you believe there is a problem, as waiting to do so can result in more of the estate’s assets being squandered. The first step in immediately dealing with the situation is to speak with an attorney.
Contact our Hartford probate lawyers today if you wish to request the removal of an estate’s executors. We understand that this is a time-sensitive matter and our office will take immediate action so that your rights remain protected. We have been serving our community for decades and we take great pride in the level of service offered by our office. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also service 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.