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3 scenarios when families can potentially remove a succession representative

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Succession/Probate

Those who serve as succession representatives take on a largely thankless role either in memory of a deceased loved one or to support the survivors left behind when an individual dies. Succession court proceedings involve presenting any testamentary documents drafted by the deceased, reporting information about the resources to the courts, notifying their creditors and distributing their assets appropriately.

Succession representatives may receive a small amount of compensation from the estate that they oversee. Most families are happy to turn over the responsibility of succession proceedings to the person acting as the estate representative. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to remove someone from that role. The following are the most common scenarios in which the Louisiana succession courts may remove the representative of an estate.

When they move out of the state

To properly manage a Louisiana succession, the personal representative typically needs to stay in the state themselves. In scenarios where the representative relocates outside of Louisiana, they may struggle to fulfill their responsibilities. It is a challenge to attend court hearings or physically secure assets when someone lives in another state. Families can request the replacement of a succession representative who has relocated since assuming their role or agreeing to take the position when someone created their estate plan.

When they don’t fulfill their obligations

Properly securing and managing assets can be difficult, especially when someone simultaneously has to deal with grief. The personal representative may have a hard time staying as organized as they need to be to fulfill their responsibilities. In some cases, families can remove succession representatives because of duties left unperformed. The failure to initiate probate proceedings, communicate with creditors or properly manage resources could all justify a lawsuit initiated in succession court to remove a representative from their position.

When they engage in misconduct

Some people are quite timely about taking the basic steps required during succession proceedings, but they may not consistently uphold their obligation to beneficiaries. The representative has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of beneficiaries by properly managing estate resources and adhering to the instructions provided by the decedent. In scenarios involving embezzlement, self-dealing or other unethical conduct, families could ask the courts to remove the succession representative and replace them with someone else.

It can be difficult to decide that the removal of a representative is the right step to take. On the other hand, a failure to act might lead to a significant reduction in the overall value of the estate. Taking timely action to remove a succession representative when they fail to properly manage succession proceedings can protect the inheritance rights of beneficiaries. Those who understand when litigation is a viable option can more readily assert themselves in succession court.