Pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, an executor or administrator of an estate, a trustee, a guardian, or an agent under a Power of Attorney may be removed from office for the following reasons:
(A) After due notice of an order or judgment of the Court so directing, he or she neglects or refuses, to timely file an inventory, render an account, or give proper security;
(B) After due notice of any other order or judgment of the Court made under its proper authority, he neglects or refuses to perform or obey the order or judgment within the time fixed by the court;
(C) He or she has embezzled, wasted, or misapplied any part of the estate committed to his or her custody, or has abused the trust and confidence reposed in him or her;
(D) He or she has removed from the State of New Jersey or does not reside therein and neglects or refuses to proceed with the administration of the estate and perform the duties and trust devolving upon him;
(E) He or she is of unsound mind or mentally incapacitated for the transaction of business; or
(F) One or two or more fiduciaries has neglected to perform his or her duties or to join with the other fiduciary or fiduciaries in the administration of the estate committed to their care whereby the proper administration and settlement of the estate is or may be hindered or prevented.
New Jersey case law is clear that, when a fiduciary is appointed by Will, removal by the Court will be granted only sparingly and with great caution; generally, Courts are reluctant to remove a fiduciary appointed by Will unless there is “clear and definite proof of fraud, gross carelessness, or indifference.” Furthermore, where the facts for and against removal are disputed, a plenary hearing must be held.
Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for removing an executor or administrator from office. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.
Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. / Timothy J. Little, P.C. – 2017 – All Rights Reserved
Probate / Estate Practice Areas: Will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, actins to remove a fiduciary, insolvency petitions, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)
Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Brick, Point Pleasant, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).