Replaced Executors and Will Challenges

In the recent case Estate of Sobal, a California appellate court addressed the scope of a replaced executor’s interest in an estate, and its bearing on their ability to challenge wills.

Sonia Sabol, the testator, executed a will naming Jay Rose as her executor.  Later, she executed a codicil revoking that appointment in favor of three different individuals as co-executors.  There were no other changes made.  Rose objected to the codicil, and the probate court rules against him on the basis that he lacked standing to object.  On appeal, the appellate court upheld the probate court’s decision, holding that where there are no changes made to the dispositive provisions of a will and only replaces the executor, the replaced executor has no interest in the will.  However, where dispositive provisions are change in addition to replacing the executor, the replaced executor may be able to challenge the will on the grounds that he represents beneficiaries under the will in which he is named executor.

See Luke Lantta, “When Can a Replaced Executor Challenge a Will?,” BryanCave Fiduciary Litigation (Jun. 24, 2014).

Posted by Morgan Yuan, Esq., Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.