Failure to Act Results in Personal Representative Removal

In Alberta, a Court will remove a personal representative of an estate if a Court finds the personal representative’s delay is impacting the administration of an estate. 

In Schnuerer Estate (Re), 2019 ABQB 830  the beneficiaries of an estate believed the personal representative was taking too long to administer an estate. The beneficiaries applied to have the personal representative removed.

In their removal application, the beneficiaries relied on section 8 of the Estate Administration Act, which allows the Court to remove a personal representative if the Court is satisfied the personal representative has refused or failed to perform a duty or core task.

After hearing the removal application, the Court chose not to remove the personal representative and instead imposed deadlines when the personal representative had to complete certain steps. The Court left it open to the beneficiaries to re–apply to remove the personal representative if the imposed deadlines were missed.

The personal representative missed the imposed deadlines, and the beneficiaries made a second application to have the personal representative removed.

After hearing the second removal application the Court noted the following about the personal representative’s actions:

  • The personal representative delayed preparing the application for a grant of probate;
  • The personal representative seeking account balances for estate inventory;
  • The personal representative failed to retain counsel to assist in selling the estate house, completing the grant of probate; and
  • The personal representative delayed in selling the estate house, which resulted in the estate house losing value

The Court ultimately held the personal representative had to be removed for the estate to be administered efficiently.

This case provides examples of what type of conduct a Court may consider when faced with an application to remove a personal representative.

If you have questions regarding an executor of an estate, contact one of the estate lawyers at Kantor LLP.

We are happy to answer questions. 

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