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Removing & Replacing An Executor

We often see clients who are frustrated by the way an executor is dealing with the estate of a deceased person. (To keep things simple, this article will use the word “executor,” but the same principles apply to administrators and trustees).

It is rare, but it does happen, that an executor may deal fraudulently with an estate, such as by taking estate funds for their own benefit.

More common is mere incompetence, which usually results in delay in administering an estate. This can also have the effect of causing the estate to be wasted in unnecessary expenses.

If you are a beneficiary of an estate, what can you do to make an executor hurry up and finalise the estate?

The first step is usually to have a formal demand sent to the executor, telling them to promptly administer the estate. If that does not achieve the desired result, then you can apply to the Supreme Court to ask a judge to make orders directing the executor to do what needs to be done, or for an order removing and replacing the executor.

Unfortunately, the court seems to be very reluctant to remove an executor, giving them lots of latitude to get their act together.

For example, there was a case where the executor was blatantly using the estate for her own benefit and delaying the sale of the estate’s house while she used it to create an income for herself by renting rooms to students.

On behalf of beneficiaries, an application was made to the Supreme Court for an order removing and replacing the executor.

By the time the case came before the judge, the executor had approached a real estate agent to have the house listed for sale.

The judge was satisfied that that was enough, and declined to remove the executor.

Even so, if an executor is clearly incompetent, or is persistently causing unreasonable delays in administering the estate, or is acting in their own interests in using the estate, the court will remove and replace the executor.

The question the court will ask is whether it is in the interests of the beneficiaries to replace the executor.

How We Can Help

Ryan Murdoch O’Regan Lawyers are experience across a range of estate administration issues.

Our expert lawyers have the expertise and experience required to obtain the best possible outcome for you.

Contact Us

Get the best representation. Contact Ryan Murdoch O’Regan Lawyers on 1800 999 529, email, or submit an enquiry below.

We are available to meet with you at any of our local offices (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Cleveland and Jimboomba) or by telephone or video-conference.

This article is for your information and interest only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and it does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

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