The executor or personal representative of an estate in Rhode Island is entrusted with a great deal of work. It will typically be their responsibility to secure the property of the deceased individual and to communicate with interested parties, including creditors and beneficiaries.
They may spend the better part of a year or even longer sorting out someone’s final affairs. Unfortunately, not everyone who serves as a personal representative for an estate will do a good job as a fiduciary. Occasionally, concerned beneficiaries and family members may want to challenge and remove someone from their role administering an estate. These are the most common reasons that loved ones ask to remove someone from a fiduciary role during probate.
1. Incompetence or a failure to act
Some people will accept the role of a personal representative for an estate without really having the ability to fulfill their responsibilities. Some people don’t have enough free time because of health concerns or family demands. Others lack the reading comprehension or organizational skills required to handle the numerous demands of the process. Whether through incompetence or procrastination, a representative’s failure to take necessary steps might lead to beneficiaries requesting their removal from the role.
2. Embezzlement or other misconduct
Some individuals tasked with estate administration will steal assets from someone’s estate. They may pocket the cash they find in the home or take valuable pieces of furniture or jewelry to sell or use themselves. When resources go missing during estate administration or when there are other signs of misconduct, like a representative hiring friends and family and overpaying them with estate assets, the beneficiaries of the estate may need to ask the Rhode Island probate courts to remove them.
3. Deviation from the estate plan
Some people won’t try to steal from an estate and are perfectly capable of fulfilling their role, but they don’t follow the instructions provided in the estate planning paperwork as they should. They may let their personal relationships with beneficiaries or preferences as an individual override the instructions provided by the testator. Family members may feel the need to remove someone from their role if they do not actively seek to uphold someone’s last wishes and instead impose their own preferences on the estate.
Recognizing when the actions of a personal representative warrant their removal can help people to better protect their inheritance and the legacy of a loved one through timely probate litigation with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.