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Can families remove the succession representative of an estate?

The person assigned to oversee Louisiana succession proceedings is the succession representative or personal representative of the estate. Their responsibilities may last for months and can require a lot of effort. They may need to take time off of work to attend court or handle estate matters with an attorney. They may also need to navigate issues with the decedent’s creditors or conflicts among their beneficiaries. Generally speaking, most people do not envy the role of succession representative. It is often a thankless job that comes with a lot of stress.

Sometimes, families begin to question whether a succession representative has properly performed their duties. In some cases, they may reach the conclusion that the representative actually harmed the estate. When is it possible for family members or beneficiaries in Louisiana to remove the succession representative managing the estate?

After inaction or incompetence

In general, there is only a limited set of situations in which the Louisiana succession courts would remove a representative. One of the most common involves inaction or incompetence. If a succession representative has failed to file paperwork, improperly managed assets or otherwise failed in their duties, their behavior or negligence could lead to a significant reduction in the overall value of the estate. When beneficiaries can show that a representative diminished the value of the estate, that may give them grounds to request their removal and replacement with a different succession representative.

After misconduct

Another reason to remove the succession representative managing an estate is their misconduct. People may sometimes embezzle from an estate, taking valuable assets that should belong to beneficiaries. Others might use their position to enrich themselves or their family members by hiring people to perform services for the estate at an inflated rate of compensation. Succession misconduct can take many forms, but all of them have the potential to cause economic damage and diminish what the beneficiaries of the estate ultimately receive.

After medical issues

Sometimes, a succession representative does an excellent job but still faces removal from their position because they can no longer perform their role as they did previously. Medical emergencies that leave someone in the hospital or degenerative conditions that affect someone’s functional abilities can prevent them from continuing to serve as a succession representative. If they are unwilling or incapable of voluntarily stepping down from their position, then the beneficiaries of the estate may need to go to succession court to remove them.

Recognizing that the removal of a succession representative might be necessary can help people preserve the assets they should inherit. Conversely, defending against unfounded accusations of failing in one’s duty may be necessary to preserve the legacy of a deceased loved one.