Removing an Executor from an Estate

When a person passes away with a will in place, his/her assets will be distributed according to that estate plan. However, administering these bequests does require the help of an executor, who is also usually named in the will. While these individuals owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate they administer, an alarming number fail to exhibit the diligence they should during this process.

However, it is possible to remove an executor from an estate. If you are concerned the executor in charge of administering your own loved one’s estate is being negligent or is otherwise failing to fulfill his/her responsibilities, you should contact Alan G. Orlowsky who can walk you through the legal process of naming a new executor.

The Duties of an Executor

Under Illinois law, executors are responsible for completing specific estate administration-related tasks, including:

  • Collecting the assets of the estate;
  • Communicating with the estate’s beneficiaries;
  • Accounting for the decedent’s income and disbursements;
  • Managing the estate’s property and investments;
  • Paying off the estate’s debts and expenses;
  • Filing a final tax return for the deceased testator and the estate; and
  • Dispersing the remaining assets to the proper beneficiaries.

Executors are required to exercise due care and diligence in fulfilling these duties, so those who fail to do so can be removed from their position and held responsible by a probate court.

Removing an Executor

Executors cannot be removed simply because of a beneficiary’s personal dislike, nor can they be dismissed for making a bad judgment call, resulting in the estate losing money. Rather, an executor can only be removed if:

  • The executor is acting under letters secured by false pretenses;
  • The executor has been adjudged mentally unfit to administer the estate;
  • The executor has been convicted of a felony crime;
  • There is evidence the representative wasted estate assets;
  • The executor failed to file an inventory or accounting with the court;
  • The executor has become unsuitable for discharging the duties of an executor; or
  • The petitioner has proof of good cause to do so.

Even if an executor fails to administer an estate in accordance with Illinois law, he/she can only be removed if the parties seeking the removal file a petition requesting removal, provide the court with evidence to support their claims, and attend an evidentiary hearing before a judge.

Call Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation

If an executor is mismanaging a loved one’s estate or you have proof he/she is engaged in fraud or has otherwise failed to properly administer the estate, you may be able to remove and replace that individual. To speak with an experienced contested estates lawyer about challenging an executor or asking a probate court to step in and protect your interests and the interests of other beneficiaries, please call our office at 847-325-5559 today. You can also reach a member of the dedicated Chicagoland contested estates, legal team, at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law by completing one of our quick contact forms online.


Updated as of July 2019
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