Removing a Personal Representative

At the end of the life of a loved one, there are many steps that need to be taken, not least of which includes starting the grieving process.  After the funeral or memorial service is over, it is then time to move on to the logistical and legal issues, including the probate of the last will and testament of your deceased loved one.  Even if your loved one did not leave a will behind, it is still possible that probating the estate may be necessary.  To move forward with the process, a personal representative will need to be appointed.  The personal representative is responsible for gathering the decedent’s assets, notifying heirs and creditors, paying debts, and distributing the remaining assets according to the will or to the law.  The personal representative has a lot of responsibilities, and in the majority of cases, he or she will discharge those responsibilities appropriately.  Unfortunately, there may be some situations in which it may be necessary to request that a personal representative be removed.

As a personal representative has been appointed by the court, it is necessary to seek court assistance to have a personal representative later removed.  Any “interested party” may file a petition seeking to have a personal representative removed.  “Interested party” could include a potential heir, a named beneficiary, or a creditor of the estate.  The person filing the request must do more than simply prove that he or she disagrees with the personal representative.  Instead, he or she will need to demonstrate that the personal representative has breached his or her fiduciary duty.  A fiduciary duty is the highest level of care that a person can owe to another person or organization.  The personal representative is obligated to use the highest level of caution and thought when making sure that the estate is administered properly according to the law and the will.  If the complaining party can prove that the personal representative has breached that duty, then the personal representative can be removed.  Moreover, the personal representative may end up being responsible for repaying any misspent funds.  The court will then need to appoint a new personal representative.

If you have questions about personal representative responsibilities, call us today at 651-413-9568.  We can talk with you about the probate process and how we can help you.