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What happens when an executor doesn’t perform duties?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2021 | Probate And Estate Administration |

The executor of an estate finds him/herself tasked with many essential duties during probate. Unfortunately, beneficiaries may find themselves dealing with an executor who might be incompetent or even malicious. Taking steps to deal with a disastrous executor might be possible in South Carolina probate court. When the executor, also known as a personal representative, is not effectively distributing assets, taking swift action may be necessary.

Settling probate and possible delays

Heirs must realize that probate might take some time to complete. The estate may have debts, tax obligations, and other issues that take precedence. An executor might work as diligently as possible to take care of matters that come before asset distribution. However, there could be instances where the executor fails at the job due to being overwhelmed. Informing the court of the executor’s incompetence may be necessary.

An executor unable to handle the duties of the job could create significant problems and complicate the process. Unnecessary delays may result, so taking steps to deal with someone over his/her head might become unavoidable.

Incompetence is one thing, but outright malfeasance represents something else entirely. An executor that engages in misrepresentation or outright fraud may also end up removed from the position. Legal troubles might follow the individual.

Addressing problems with the executor

South Carolina law offers solutions for heirs dealing with an executor that fails at the job. Under “SECTION 62-3-611. Petition for removal; cause; procedure,” the law spells out the steps for removing an executor/personal representative for cause.

The law allows someone with standing to petition the court for the executor’s removal. A hearing then takes place, and the court reviews the petition. If cause exists to remove the executor, the court may do so. The law also details the statutes regarding the appointment of a new executor.

Probate and estate administration in South Carolina relies on the adequate performance of an executor/personal representative. When the person fails at the job, petitioning for a replacement might be the only viable option. Hiring an attorney to address the matter in a hearing may be required.