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Can an Executor or Administrator of a Westchester County Estate Be Removed?

When someone is named an executor or an administrator of an estate of a person who died in Westchester County, they have a responsibility to take care of that estate properly according to New York law. There are duties owed to many individuals when an estate is handled, and those interested parties may run into a situation where the person managing the estate is not doing his or her duty correctly and needs to be removed. In a case such as this, it is essential that you consult with a Westchester estate attorney right away, so that you can protect your rights.

The Surrogate’s Court puts heavy weight on who a testator chooses to represent an estate or who has been appointed administrator. Because of this, petitions to remove an executor or administrator are not taken lightly and removing a person from this role entirely is considered to be an option of last resort. Although a court will not easily remove an executor or administrator upon a petition to remove the executor or administrator, the court will most certainly order them to perform their duties and to release specific information to interested parties.

Interested parties in a removal proceeding covers a broad range of parties and could involve anyone that has any interest in the estate. This could mean a named beneficiary, someone not named in the will that has a potential interest, a creditor or even the Department of Taxation and Finance. Any of these parties would be able to bring a proceeding to remove an executor or administrator.

New York state law has a long list of behaviors that could warrant someone being removed from their position as an executor or administrator, almost all of which have to do with some wrongful action on the part of the representative. Some of the most commonly used reasons used when petitioning for the removal of an executor or administrator include:

1. Being unfit for office for reasons such as not managing the estate’s assets correctly,
2. Failure to follow a court order,
3. Gaining his or her position through a false misrepresentation of a material fact,
4. Moving and not telling the court within 30 days,
5. Taking estate property out of the court’s jurisdiction without the court’s permission,
6. Irresponsibility, either through not acting responsibly or otherwise not being fit for office, or
7. Not filing proper accounting when required.

Usually, a court will try not to completely remove an executor or an administrator if it can be avoided through ordering an action be taken or temporarily removing the representative. However, if the behavior is especially egregious or there is no other option, the court will remove the executor or administrator and replace that person with someone else. If you are involved in a serious disagreement between the executor/administrator of an estate and other parties in the estate, it is in your best interest to hire a Westchester estate attorney to assist you in your removal proceedings. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.