The loss of a loved one such as a parent or close relative is a heavy blow for most people, one that is accompanied by grief, depression, anger, and confusion. However, many who are grieving the loss of a loved one don’t usually expect to be defrauded or betrayed by the executor that the deceased entrusted with his/her personal affairs.
In Pennsylvania, those who are experiencing additional suffering or hardship at the hands of an ineffective executor do have some options available. Note that many of these options can take over a year to work through the system, though the process can be facilitated immensely with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney. That being covered, for this post, we’re looking at some of the steps that PA residents should follow when dealing with a neglectful, irresponsible, or greedy executor that is failing his/her duties.
Communicate with the Executor
This is often the easiest solution. Be sure that you’re communicating your concerns with the executor. It’s possible that they themselves are dealing with grief or struggling with the responsibilities assigned to them. Reach out to them, offer support or help when possible, and outline your expectations to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Document Everything and Build Evidence
As you communicate with the executor, it is vital that you document everything. While you’re at it, send him/her a copy of all your correspondence for further confirmation. Documentation is the best way to clearly demonstrate that the executor is not upkeeping his/her legal duties, which leads us to the next step.
File a Petition to Have Them Removed as Executor
Once you’ve gathered the information that you need, you can proceed to file a petition to have this person removed as the executor of the deceased’s estate. From here, the case will likely proceed to court, where the executor is expected to testify about their actions. The court has the power to remove the executor, based on the circumstances at hand.
Being a beneficiary of someone who recently passed away is not easy for a multitude of reasons. Hopefully, this post can offer some guidance as you navigate these tricky legal waters. To learn more about this issue, or about any matters involving estate law in PA, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Egbert & Barnes, P. C.
Call us at 215-886-6600 to schedule a free initial consultation with a reputable PA estate planning attorney today.