How and When to Remove an Executor From a Will

How and When to Remove an Executor From a Will

Today, the Spraggs Law team discusses what British Columbians should know about how and when to remove an executor from a will.

For information on how and when to remove an executor from a will in British Columbia, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s dive right into the FAQs:

What Does It Mean to Be the Executor of a Will?

An executor is an individual appointed under a will to administer a person’s estate when he or she dies. The primary responsibilities of the executor are:

  • Funeral arrangements;
  • Investigating the estate’s assets and liabilities;
  • Applying for a grant of probate if necessary;
  • Maintaining and preserving the estate before it is distributed;
  • Distribute and dispose of the estate’s assets, net of any liabilities, including taxes, in accordance with the will

Executors can be anyone but are most commonly accountants, lawyers, or a trusted family member.

The will dictates whether there are any restrictions on the executor’s powers to administer the estate.

In the course of administering the estate, the executor owes a duty to act in the best interest of the estate. The executor also owes duties to beneficiaries and interested parties., 

What Are Reasonable Grounds for Removing an Executor in BC?

The court has the power to remove an executor if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for doing so. When deciding whether to remove and replace an executor, the court’s primary consideration will always be whether doing so is in the interest of the estate and the beneficiaries.

Reasonable grounds for removing an executor are:

  • Negligence or intentional misconduct (e.g. fraud) that harms the estate;
  • Conflict of interest, if an executor who is also a beneficiary makes a wills variation claim;
  • Endangerment of estate property;
  • Lack of capacity or ability to execute duties;
  • Undue delay in performing executor duties

A court order is required to remove an executor. As this is a drastic step, courts are reluctant to do so unless there are compelling reasons. If the court finds that an executor has not fulfilled his or her duties but not to the degree warranting removal, then the court may consider alternatives such as:

  • Taking remedial steps, e.g. provide explanation or accounting, reverse a transaction etc.;
  • Restrict the executor’s powers to administer the estate;
  • Impose some form of oversight, such as a third-party auditor or adding additional executors; and
  • Ordering costs against the executor or ordering the executor to personally pay for a mistake. 

Where there is only one executor to the estate, a new executor will need to be substituted. Where there is more than one executor, the remaining executor(s) will continue with the administration of the estate.

Looking For Further Info on Executor Removal? Spraggs Law Can Help

Spraggs Law offers legal help to those living in BC regarding navigating estate law, as well as offering representation should the need arise.

Give us a call at 604-359-1627 to discuss how we can offer personalized assistance regarding removing an executor in BC based on your unique needs.

Please note: This article does not contain legal advice. If you would like advice on your specific situation, please contact Spraggs Law.