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Victoria Riddleston
Victoria Riddleston
14 Mar 2017

Can you object to the appointment of or remove an executor or administrator

Dispute Resolution

When a person dies, a personal representative will need to be appointed to administer their estate. If a Will has been made, the personal representative will usually be the executor appointed under the Will (subject to certain exceptions, for example, if the named executor no longer has capacity). If there is no Will or the person appointed as executor cannot act or there is no executor appointed, an administrator will be appointed according to a specified list of eligible applicants.

Most of the time, an executor or administrator will carry out their duties properly. However, there may be occasions when a beneficiary or a co-executor/administrator feels that the executor/administrator should not be permitted to take out a grant or, if they have already done so, to have them removed as personal representative.

The Court has the power to pass over a personal representative in favour of another to administer the estate on the grounds of unsuitability. It also has the power to remove a personal representative after a grant has been issued.

An executor/administrator will not be appointed (or will be removed, if the grant has already been issued) if they are in prison, are bankrupt or lack capacity.

Another ground for removing an executor/administrator is if they failed to administer the estate properly, for example, by failing to carry out the steps necessary to administer it or by dishonestly taking money from the estate.

Hostility or the breakdown of the relationship between the executor/administrator and the beneficiaries or other executors/administrator could also lead to their removal. However, this is a more difficult ground to prove and is only likely to succeed if the administration of the estate cannot continue as a result of the breakdown in relationship.

Whether the Court will pass over an executor/administrator or will remove them depends on the circumstances of each case. Case law has held that that the Courts are unlikely to deviate from the stated wishes of the deceased unless special circumstances exist (as noted above).

If you have concerns about the suitability of an executor or administrator please feel free to contact me on victoria.riddleston@ellisjones.co.uk or 01202 057768.

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Victoria Riddleston
Victoria Riddleston