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Siblings are not in agreement about who should replace our Executrix.

Berkeley, CA |
Filed under: Estate planning

My siblings and I are unhappy with my father's Executrix. They (siblings) have hired a lawyer. I'm welcome to join in but they may seek to have her replaced with one of them. I'm opposed to this--the Will says I'm next in line but we have past conflict and I think it should be someone outside the family. What should I do? If I don't hire a lawyer, how will I know what they're up to? I'm currently getting no information from the Executrix or her attorney.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

You have a multitude of issues, here. You are supposed to get notice of all probate proceedings. But how to respond appropriately is something you need a lawyer for. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the judge, but it really sounds like this situation is ripe for additional conflict beyond the immediate issues. It may be best if the judge appoints a public administrator, as you suggest.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Asker

Posted

Thanks, Christine and James. Yes, it's potentially complicated. Does it make sense to hire an attorney now, since we might not try and replace the Executrix? If we don't, I may end up having spent a whole lot of my own money for nothing. Maybe I'm better off "joining the team" and taking my chances, no?

Asker

Posted

Added note: Aside from the removing the Executrix issue, we currently agree about everything else (primarily, division of assets).

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

If you can agree on the other issues, joining the rest may be cost-effective. It is impossible to say, without knowing all the facts. Part of what is not clear is who would become executor is the current party is removed. That can be very significant. (Or it could make little difference, if everyone agrees, the rest of the way out).

Asker

Posted

I don't know exactly who would become executor, but it is my siblings' plan that should they be successful in removing the current Executor, one of them would take over. This is currently our only real disagreement. And it might not even happen.

Posted

Unfortunately I think you would be well served hiring an attorney if there is conflict among the family. You being named as next in line, you can either serve with the guidance of an attorney or decline on the agreement of all parties that a disinterested third party will step in. It will be difficult for you to negotiate all of this on your own, and probably will cost the estate more in the long run. It sounds like there are already issues that are causing the current executrix to be removed or step down, so it is best that everyone get on the same page to reduce the chances of additional issues going forward.

Posted

Hire a Probate attorney. File a Motion to Remove the Executrix and have yourself appointed in accordance with your late father's Will. Good Luck!

Asker

Posted

What would happen if my siblings are opposed to this?

Posted

You need to file a motion in probate court to replace the executrix of the probate and in his or her place appoint someone of your preference. If you don’t want to serve in the capacity, and you want an outside person then you should choose a qualified professional fiduciary with credentials for the court’s consideration. You are also going to have to provide a good factual basis for why the executrix needs to be replaced.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks, John. The path to removing the Executrix is pretty clear--my issue is what to do about the disagreement with my siblings. Can they just go ahead and attempt to remove the Executrix and replace her with one of them without my involvement? Can I somehow let the Court know I oppose this without hiring a lawyer and spending thousands of dollars? If the Court knows the family is in disagreement, will they automatically recommend appointing an outside party?

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