The Selection of the Right Fiduciary

December 08, 2020

The testator’s selection of a fiduciary is given great deference by the Surrogate’s Court. Indeed, such respect is accorded to a testator’s, or, in the case of a trustee, a grantor’s selection, that removal will only be granted upon a showing that an estate and its administration would otherwise be jeopardized. Recent opinions addressed to these issues surrounding the appointment and removal of a fiduciary are examined in this month’s column.

Executor Removed for Want of Understanding

In In re Sullivan, N.Y.L.J, Dec. 26, 2019, at 26 (Sur. Ct., Kings County), the Surrogate’s Court was confronted with a petition by the co-executor of the estate, to remove his co-executor/sibling on the grounds that she (1) had moved out of state without timely notifying the court of her change of address, (2) had interfered with his efforts to administer the estate, (3) had failed to fulfill her fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries of the estate, and (4) was no longer mentally and physically capable of serving as fiduciary. The decedent’s will was admitted to probate on June 25, 2015, and his siblings, the petitioner and respondent, who were the principal beneficiaries of his estate, were appointed co-executors on that date.

Ilene Sherwyn Cooper is a partner with Farrell Fritz, P.C. in Uniondale, where she concentrates in the area of trusts and estates.

Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, Monday, December 7, 2020, Vol 264 – No. 109.

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  • Related Practice Areas: Estate Litigation, Trusts & Estates
  • Featured Attorneys: Ilene S. Cooper
  • Publications: New York Law Journal