The probate process can be complicated and time-consuming, depending on several factors, including the size of an estate and the efficiency of the executor. Settling an estate can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but when the named executor is dragging their feet or becomes untrustworthy, the process can become even more fraught.
It is one thing when a beneficiary has an issue with a will. But when the person charged with administering the estate is the one causing problems, then you need to take specific steps to ensure the process gets back on track.
Whether the probate process is simply taking too long, or you suspect that the executor is engaging in misconduct that could damage your loved one’s estate, you have options to help get things back on track.
Write a letter
It is best to assume at first that the executor of a will is not acting in bad faith. Given that assumption, the first step would be to send a letter to the executor, simply nudging them to fulfill their duties in reasonable time.
Hire an attorney
If the executor does not respond to your initial letter, you may want to hire an attorney to write another letter issuing a stronger demand to complete the probate process.
Replace the executor
If the executor does not respond to your letter or your attorney’s letter, then you may need to file a lawsuit to replace the executor. You can petition to be the new executor yourself, suggest an independent executor or request that any successor executor mentioned in the will take over.
The probate process is rarely fun for anybody, but running into complications because of the actions (or lack thereof) of an executor can make things even more difficult. You do not have to be at the mercy of someone else’s failure to fulfill the duties of executor. Talking to a lawyer can help you to see the best way forward.