KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
Removing an Executor of an Estate
Under New Jersey Law, the person selected as an executor of a Will has numerous legal responsibilities following the death of the person who signed the Will. Primarily, they have a duty to probate the Will, liquidate assets, pay bills and taxes, file all necessary court and tax returns, and then distribute the assets to beneficiaries.
In New Jersey, the court and Surrogate do not supervise how an executor or administrator handles the estate. An Executor occasionally fails to timely carry out their duties. They may fail to file tax returns, fail to keep records, misappropriate funds or ignore instructions under the Will. If a beneficiary is not satisfied with the handling of the estate, they can have an attorney file a Complaint in the Superior Court to compel accounting, remove the executor, compel filing of tax returns and seek other relief.
The New Probate Statute of NJ made a number of substantial changes to the provisions governing the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.
Under the United States Supreme Court Case, Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc., v. Joanne Pope, Executrix of the Estate of H. Everett Pope, Jr., Deceased, 108 S.CT. 1340 (1988) the Personal Representative in every estate is personally responsible to provide actual notice to all known or "readily ascertainable" creditors of the decedent. This means that is the executor's responsibility to diligently search for any "readily ascertainable" creditors.
In lieu of a Formal Accounting the beneficiaries will usually be requested to sign a Release and Refunding bond. If a beneficiary has evidence of misappropriation, they should ask the executor for an informal accounting prior to signing the Release and Refunding bond.
COMPLAINT FOR ACCOUNTING & REMOVAL OF EXECUTOR
A Complaint for Accounting is filed in the Superior Court Probate Part to request on accounting, removal of the current executor and selection of a new person to administer and wrap up the estate. See Rule 4:87-1
A signed certification of one or more beneficiaries is needed. In addition, an Order to Show Cause is prepared by the attorney. The Order to Show Cause is submitted to be signed by the Judge directing the executor to file a written answer to the Complaint, as well as appear before the court at a specific date and time.