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Your parents built up their estate through hard work, dedication, smarts and a little bit of luck. Upon their deaths, they likely wanted you and your siblings to benefit from their tidy estate that may include heirlooms such as your great-grandmother’s dresser from the old country, plenty of investments such as stocks and retirement accounts, property and cash.

You want to protect your parents’ estate as well as your surviving family’s interests, and that includes ensuring that your executor is performing his or her duties in a competent, desirable and meaningful way.

Protecting family legacy

It’s your family’s legacy that must be protected, and what amounts to your inheritance. The executor is an entrusted person tasked with protecting the estate by securing and identifying property; probating the will by selling assets; and paying creditors and beneficiaries.

Make sure the person your parents have designated as the executor of their will is taking the job seriously. The executor’s job is to fulfill your parents’ wishes when it comes to their estate.

Ill-prepared or incompetent executor

What if your instincts tell you that your parents didn’t select the right person as an executor? Perhaps this person is disorganized, careless, incompetent or just plain lacks the necessary skills. Even worse, they may put personal interests ahead of the estate and try to capitalize financially or make risky investments.

Trust your instincts.

If you’re considering replacing or removing the chosen executor, you will likely have to file a court proceeding. While in probate court, you must prove that this person is incapable of fulfilling those responsibilities.

Prepare yourself

Some things you can do in preparation include:

  • Brush up on the legal duties of an executor. Know them inside and out.
  • Recognize when conflicts of interest surface.
  • If several disputes or even a single major one arise, pursue estate mediation.

If you suspect misconduct or incompetence of an executor, take action immediately. Don’t wait. You don’t want this person’s actions to affect the estate that your parents so skillfully built through love and hard work.

Ultimately, you will need to reach out to your own estate lawyer, especially if breach of trust may exist.