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What Are The Variables Which Lead To Successful Executor Removal?

Posted: Friday, 13 October 2023 @ 15:24

With respect to executor removal there are a number of factors which will make an application more or less likely to succeed.

The following factors are relevant:

1 How long has it been since the Deceased died? Every estate is different but the general rule of thumb is the longer that the Executor has not taken to deal with the Estate the more likely you have for justification for removal.

2 Do you have specific evidence of wrongdoing? The leading case on executor removal is that of Harris v. Earwicker [2015] EWHC 1915 (Ch) and particularly the wording by the then Chief Master Marsh at paragraph 9. If your case can satisfy the wording at paragraph 9 you may very well have the ammunition to successfully remove the executor. Some things to think about  include : Is the administration of the estate being carried out properly? If there is wrongdoing or fault and it is material such as to endanger the estate the Court the Judge is very likely to exercise its powers under the law. What are the wishes of the beneficiaries? What has been done to administer the estate and what remains to be done?

3 Do you have specific evidence of poor financial conduct by the Executor? Sometimes it is difficult for a would be complainant to find evidence of poor behaviour(e.g when an Executor was an attorney for the Deceased) but if you do it gives added justification 

4 Do you have a suitable replacement lined up? As Chief Justice Marsh has pointed out in the above case the additional cost of replacing some or all of the personal representatives, particularly where it is proposed to appoint professional persons, is a material consideration. The size of estate and the scope and cost of the work which will be needed will have to be considered.

5 How bad has the conduct of the Executor been? How good has the conduct of the other parties been, or have they been drawn in? These are simple questions but the answers are not necessarily obtained immediately and a solicitor would want to read the papers to see how the evidence stacks up.

6 Has there been a breakdown of the relationship between some or all of the beneficiaries and the personal representatives?  If the the breakdown of relations makes the task of the personal representatives difficult or impossible, replacement may be the only option.