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What Happens if an Executor Doesn’t Follow a Will?

When you write your will, you can name a specific person to carry out the wishes you have outlined in that legal document. This person is called the executor. If you do not name someone in your will, the probate courts will name an executor or special administrator to handle the administration of your estate.  Regardless of how the person gets chosen, the executor has a great deal of responsibility. Some of the tasks include:

  • Filing the will with the probate courts
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Managing bank accounts
  • Pay bills, debts and taxes with money from the estate
  • Notifying important entities of the death (Social Security office, banks, credit cards, etc.)
  • Maintain property if necessary until it is sold

Imagine the temptation if the executor is not 100% trustworthy…if the executor has fallen on hard times…if the executor has made some poor life decisions that are negatively affecting their financial situation.

If the executor does not follow the explicit wishes outlined in the will or if the executor abuses their power for personal gain, that person can be removed from duty and even held personally liable for their actions or inactions. For example, the executor might withhold information about valuable assets and sell those items, keeping the profits. Or the executor might steal money from bank accounts. While it is not always easy to recoup money and/or possessions, it may be worthwhile to start legal proceedings.

For a successful case, there must be ample evidence of wrongdoing. The courts will want to see that the current executor is not acting on the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries. The appropriate paperwork must be filed with the probate court to request that a new executor to be appointed. If you do not have experience with these types of contests, an estate lawyer can help you understand the process and get the ball rolling.

The Denver estate lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC have experience helping clients request a new executor in Denver. They will ask specific questions about your unique situation, guide you to find evidence of misconduct and file paperwork on your behalf. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.