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Sudden Wealth Blog

What To Do When An Executor Refuses To Act

Woman at laptop wondering what to do when executor refuses to act.

When you are expecting to benefit from an estate and the executor refuses to fulfill their duties, it can be a stressful and confusing situation. In this article, we will discuss what steps you should take when an executor refuses to act, as well as available remedies when there is a breach of fiduciary duty.

Try to Communicate With the Executor.

When an executor refuses to act, try to find out why they are refusing to act and if there are any issues that can be resolved. You may be able to come to an agreement that resolves the situation. Do this in writing … preferably by email, though text may also work. The reason for doing it is in writing is so that you are creating a record that you can use later in court if it comes to that.

Understand Your Rights Under Your State’s Probate Law.

Each state has unique laws when it comes to probate and the executor’s duty. It is important to be familiar with these laws and understand your rights as a beneficiary of the estate. In some cases, you may have the right to petition the court for an order forcing the executor to take action or even replace the executor if necessary. Be sure to consult with a probate litigation attorney in your area before taking any action. (If you are in Arizona, we can help you. Give us a call.)

Speak With an Attorney When an Executor Refuses to Act.

In most cases, the best course of action when an executor refuses to act is to speak with a probate litigation attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand what rights you have as a beneficiary and which legal options are available to get the executor moving. Additionally, an attorney can provide valuable guidance on how to move forward with the court process if necessary and help ensure your rights are protected throughout.

Draft and File a Demand Letter Addressing the Delayed Actions.

Writing and sending a demand letter is one of the first steps to take when an executor is refusing to act. A demand letter reminds the executor of their legal obligation, advises them that you are aware of the delays, and requests that they take immediate action and fulfill their duties under the will. If you are unable to locate the executor, your attorney can help you serve the letter.

Bring Court Action to Force the Executor’s Hand.

If the executor continues to refuse to act despite your demand letter, your next step is to bring court action against them. This is a more involved process than sending a demand letter and could require several court hearings. When taking legal action, you should include the deceased’s heirs in any court filing in order for them to be named as Respondents when the lawsuit moves forward.


It’s important to act quickly when an executor refuses to act, as delays can cause problems and increase costs for the estate. Call us today at 602-443-4888. We have years of experience compelling executors to do what they are supposed to do. We have also successfully removed and replaced lazy executors. Let us be your advocate so your inheritance is protected and you get what your loved one meant for you to receive.



Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.