Real World Solutions Tailored To Your Needs

Can a deceased’s loved ones get you removed as executor?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Estate Planning |

If you were chosen by a loved one, friend or colleague to be the executor (known as the “personal representative” under California law) of their estate, they likely trusted you to be able to handle this responsibility and help carry out their final wishes for their assets. 

Maybe those heirs are suggesting that you’re not up to the job or that you won’t be fair to everyone. Maybe they’re outright threatening to have you removed. This can make an already difficult and stressful job even harder to do.

What does California law say?

It may help to understand that California probate law allows court removal of a personal representative only if they aren’t legally qualified for the position (for example, if they’re under 18 or not a U.S. resident) or if they’re guilty of specific types of wrongdoing that affect the estate’s assets and the administration of the estate. 

Some examples under the law include the following:

  • They have “wasted, embezzled, mismanaged, or committed a fraud on the estate” or are “about to do so.”
  • They have “long neglected to perform any act as personal representative.”
  • It’s necessary to remove them for the “protection of the estate or interested persons.”

Note that there’s an exception if the appointed personal representative was a business partner of the deceased. In that case, the law allows removal if “an interested person objects to the appointment.” Typically, an interested party would be a beneficiary.

One way to help ensure that you’re handling your duties as personal representative effectively and in accordance with the law is to have experienced legal guidance. You may also want to seek help from financial, tax, real estate and other professionals as you carry out your responsibilities.