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Friday, July 6, 2012

Court removes executor who spent estate money on himself

One of the most common questions I hear on this blog is whether or not an executor can be removed for his poor performance on an estate. I've given my opinion that removing an executor isn't particularly easy to do, and it is absolutely not a rubber-stamp type of application to the court. A judge won't remove an executor just because a beneficiary isn't happy; you have to persuade the judge that the executor's behaviour warrants overturning the testator's decision to appoint him or her in the first place.

I'm always on the look-out for new information and cases that talk about the issue of removing an executor, and recently I found exactly that at http://www.whaleyestatelitigation.com/ .

The article I'm referring to is a case comment on the recent Ontario decision in the Murphy Estate. In that case, an executor, who was the son of the deceased, personally spent $20,000 of estate money and didn't pay it back. The judge said that the son's actions amounted to indifference as to the welfare of the beneficiaries, despite it being an executor's job to consider their welfare. The son was removed and his step-sister was appointed in his place. Click here for more details about the case and a link to the judgment itself.

I'm pleased with this decision, as it helps give clarity to the question of what kind of behaviour on the part of an executor warrants removal.

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