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When can a Maryland estate executor be removed?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2024 | Probate Litigation |

Being the executor of an estate (or personal representative, as it’s called under Maryland law) can feel like a thankless job. Whether you’re a relative of the deceased dealing with your own family or you’re dealing with people you don’t know well, you may feel like no one is happy with the way you’re doing your job. 

They may, in reality, be unhappy that they weren’t chosen for the job, dissatisfied with the speed at which the estate is being settled or angry that they didn’t get the inheritance they expected. On the other hand, they could have valid grounds for your removal.

What does the law say?

That’s why it’s important to know what these grounds are under Maryland law. It’s certainly not as simple as a family member or other beneficiary not liking the personal representative or not thinking they’re the best person for the job. Whether a personal representative was designated by the deceased in their will or appointed by a probate judge, for the probate court to remove them, they must be guilty of things like the following:

  • Misrepresenting “material facts in the proceedings leading to the personal representative’s appointment”
  • Intentionally disregarding a court order
  • Mismanaging property
  • Failing “to perform a material duty pertaining to the office”

A person can also be removed if they’re determined to be “unable or incapable” of doing the job. The law notes that even if there’s cause for removal, a court may keep them in the position if it “would be in the best interests of the estate and would not adversely affect the rights of interested persons or creditors.”

If someone is seeking to remove you for any reason listed in the law, they have to provide evidence to the court. If you find yourself the target of a removal effort, it’s wise to get experienced legal guidance. Even if you’re willing to give up the role rather than fight, if you’re being accused of mismanaging or stealing assets, there could be serious personal consequences. It’s crucial to protect your rights.