The executor of your New York estate is responsible for opening a probate case if you have assets that need to be probated. If your executor refuses to begin probate, he or she may be relieved of these duties. This is because failing to do so is likely in violation of that person’s fiduciary duty to your estate.

The duties of the executor

An executor is typically required to inventory your assets, notify interested parties of your death and disburse assets per your wishes. Creditors and other interested parties must be notified of your death so that they have ample time to make claims against your estate. An executor is also responsible for creating a full accounting to the court toward the end of the probate proceeding.

The process of removing an executor

An interested party may request that the current executor be removed from his or her position. In addition to not filing a will with the court, an individual could be removed as executor for mismanaging your estate’s assets. As a general rule, a successor will be appointed to manage your affairs if the current executor takes actions that aren’t in the estate’s best interest.

An successor executor can be named in your will

It may be a good idea to name an alternate executor in your will if your first choice is unable to perform his or her duties. Otherwise, the court will likely appoint your spouse or a child to represent your estate’s interests. Regardless of who takes over, removing the original estate representative may prolong a probate case.

Ideally, your estate plan will account for issues such as the need to replace an executor during a probate proceeding. An estate planning attorney could help you create a plan that’s as flexible as possible while still meeting your needs and the needs of your surviving family members. An attorney may also help you review a plan to ensure that it still does what you want it to.