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What Happens if an Executor Does Not Follow a Will?

Wills | September 10, 2020

What happens if an executor does not follow a will? Any executor who does not follow the wishes and requests expressed in a will can be held personally liable and can be removed as the executor. If you are dealing with a rogue executor, the wills, estates, and trusts lawyers from Linley Welwood can help you petition the probate court for their removal.

What is an Executor?

An executor is the personal representative who is in charge of distributing the property, assets, and possessions of an individual, according to the wishes that are outlined in their will. The executor of a will is usually named by the deceased person in their will and is appointed by the probate court; however, if the will does not name an executor, the court can appointment someone to stand in place of the executor. An executor can be a family member, close friend, or even a professional like a lawyer.

What is an Executor Responsible for?

When accepting the role of executor, the individual appointed is also accepting the position as a fiduciary (someone who holds a legal and ethical relationship of trust and cannot benefit at the expense of a beneficiary) along with numerous responsibilities associated with the role. An executor is responsible for taking care of money and other assets and must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times. In the event that an executor fails to put the beneficiaries’ best interests first, they can be held personally liable. A beneficiary has the right to sue an executor for mismanaging estate property or for breaching their fiduciary duty.

What to do if an Executor Does Not Follow a Will

If an executor does not carry out the wishes that are stated in the will, a beneficiary may petition the probate court to have the executor removed. In order to have an executor removed by the court, you will have to provide sufficient evidence that they are no longer fit to administer the estate due to evidence of wrongdoing, such as stealing, hiding assets, defrauding a beneficiary, refusing to follow the wishes laid out in the will, or, in extreme cases, failing to maintain proper records.

If you would like to learn more information about what happens if an executor does not follow a will, or if you are interested in our legal services for wills, estates, and trusts, please contact Linley Welwood at 604-850-6640 or by filling out a contact form on our website.


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