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Western Australian Law as at date of publication


Dealing with an unsuitable executor


It is possible to make application to the Supreme Court of Western Australia to pass over an executor named in a will and to appoint a different legal representative of an estate or if a grant has already been made to remove an executor (e.g. see section 36 and 37 of the Administration Act).

The general guiding principles are whether that change would be in the interests of the beneficiaries and if whether it would lead to the proper and efficient administration of the estate to final distribution.

Some reasons why an executor may be passed over or removed include:

  • if they are acting in their personal interests and not in the interests of all beneficiaries of the estate e.g. by living in estate property without paying rent and failing to administer the estate in a timely manner or by receiving some other financial benefit from or through the estate they are not entitled to under the will or at law
  • they are incompetent e.g. they are mentally incapacitated
  • they are unwilling e.g. they have not obtained a grant of probate in circumstances where a grant is needed to properly administer the estate for an unreasonable period.

Significant evidence is required to succeed with these types of applications which should not be lightly commenced. Legal advice should first be obtained.

(Valid 31/5/12)

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