What if the father died first, then the mother? They both wrote identical wills and named the youngest child as executor. The middle child was named as the alternate. The will states that if the first executor can’t or won’t carry out the duties of the will, then the alternate executor takes over. It also states that within six months after the mother’s death, the home should be sold, and the proceeds divided evenly between all three siblings.
Time passes, and now it’s been now a year after her death. The oldest child is occupying the house—but he can’t qualify for a mortgage or buy the other two kids out of their shares.
Is the alternate executor permitted to just assume the executor duties and sell the home?
nj.com weighs in with a recent article, “Family fights over mom’s will when executor won’t sell the house. What’s next?” According to the article, being named in the will doesn’t give you the automatic right to serve as executor.
If an individual is named as successor executor in the will, there must be two steps taken, before he can assume the administration of the estate.
In this situation, the youngest brother, as the current executor, must either resign or be removed.
The easiest, quickest and least costly option is for him to voluntarily step aside. However, he obviously has to agree to it.
The second option is to go to court and ask the Chancery Court judge to remove him.
To be successful in removing the executor, a person must show the Chancery Court judge that the executor is refusing to take the necessary action, as directed by the mother’s will. If the judge is convinced, she can remove the youngest brother by court order.
The middle child would then need to be appointed by the judge as the new executor.
Typically, when a person is named as the alternate, it isn’t a problem. It’s merely an administrative process. The middle child would have to go to the probate court and sign the required paperwork.
Reference: nj.com (December 27, 2018) “Family fights over mom’s will when executor won’t sell the house. What’s next?”