Why might a personal representative be removed in Arizona?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | Probate |

In Arizona, the personal representative plays an integral role in how a person’s estate is settled after they have died. This individual is also referred to as the executor. The personal representative’s responsibilities include overseeing the testator’s assets and making sure their wishes are met.

Examples of what they will do include amassing the assets, paying their debts and distributing their property based on the will. Those who have an estate plan will generally name a trusted person to serve as their personal representative. It could be anyone from a spouse to a child to a trusted friend or business associate. The court can also name a personal representative.

It is important to remember that the personal representative is expected to meet certain expectations when performing their duties. If they do not or there are allegations of outright wrongdoing, then other interested parties can petition for their removal. Knowing how and why removal might commence is critical to protect the person’s estate and make sure their objectives are followed.

What does the law say about removing a personal representative?

State law allows for the removal of a personal representative for cause. The needs of the estate are paramount and if the removal is in its best interests, then it can be done. When the appointment is made, the personal representative is expected to behave in accordance with their duties. Failure to do so could be cause for removal.

In some instances, the person who is named the personal representative could have committed some form of misrepresentation to secure the role. They can then be removed. They are also required to adhere to the orders of the court, fulfill their duties and manage the estate competently.

If they were derelict in any of these duties, that could be sufficient to warrant their removal. For example, if the personal representative was embezzling assets or committed fraud, other interested parties can seek their removal.

The basic goal of the estate plan is to do as the testator wanted based on what they have in their will. The personal representative must follow their wishes to dispose of the property. If they do not, then they can be removed.

Estate administration can be complicated

In a best-case scenario, the person who is serving as the personal representative will do so in an upstanding way and make certain they are performing as the testator expected them to. Unfortunately, that does not always happen and others who have an interest in the estate seek their removal.

If it is suspected that the personal representative is not doing their job as part of estate administration, it is essential to know the options to have them removed.