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What Is The Procedure For Removing An Executor?

Posted: Friday, 14 February 2020 @ 14:42

If all other attempts have failed, and the administration is not progressing to the beneficiaries’ satisfaction, they could consider applying for the executor to be removed or replaced under s. 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985.

This should be a last resort due to the legal costs involved.

A case in this respect is Heyman v Dobson [2007] EWHC 3503, where a residuary beneficiary brought an application under s.50 having been unable to obtain any response from the executor to requests for information regarding the estate.

The case is a useful starting point when considering a s.50 application since the judgment reviews the little authority that exists in this context. Whether a s.50 application will succeed is a matter for the discretion of the court and that the overriding considerations are broadly the proper administration of the estate and the welfare of the beneficiaries. It is not necessary to establish wrongdoing or fault on the part of the executor. The court will generally replace an executor where, for example, relations between him and the beneficiaries have simply broken down to such an extent that it is no longer possible to progress the administration of the estate properly.

In the case of Goodman v Goodman [2013] All ER 118 which involved an appeal against a decision to remove an executor under s.50 Administration of Justice Act 1985. The rationale for the appeal was that the incorrect procedure had been used by the claimants. As this was an application to remove an executor before the grant had been obtained, it was argued that the procedure under s.116 Senior Courts Act 1981 should have been used. The appeal failed. Generally, save in cases of actual wrongdoing or fraud (such as in Alkin v Raymond[1]) the courts are very reluctant to remove personal representatives. The overriding principle remains that the court will only remove an executor if it is in the interest of the proper administration of the estate and would promote the welfare of the beneficiaries, which will depend upon the peculiar facts of each case.


If a s.50 application is not being made in the course of existing proceedings, it should be brought in the Chancery Division of the High Court using a Part 8 Claim Form, and supported by written evidence (see CPR Part 57). If there is more than one executor, the others must all be joined as parties, often together with the residuary beneficiaries. If a sole executor is being removed, a substitute should be sought otherwise the estate will be left unrepresented. Applications under section 50 are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules r.57.13 and PD57, paragraphs 12–14: and must be brought in the High Court;

All applications will be assigned to the Chancery Division; Every personal representative of the estate shall be joined as a party;

The Court Fee is £528 within the High Court.