Can we dispute the administrator of my brother's estate?

Nicole24 asked...

Can we dispute administrator of my brother's estate if he had no will? Our brother died without a will. One of my brothers filed to become administrator and we found out that our father has filed to become administrator already. Our mother passed away 10 years ago and most of us never knew our father. He had left our mother over 45 years ago. We have had no contact with him. Is there anyway to dispute this?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Yes, you can ask the court to remove your father as administrator"”and you would be wise to act quickly, as the law imposes deadlines on probate procedures so that they don't drag on too long.

You should contact the probate court that granted your father the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration and ask for it specific procedures on how to contest or remove an administrator.

Be forewarned that you and your siblings may have to dredge up some painful memories to file this legal contest, such as information about the last time you had contact with your father. What will likely be most relevant is whether your father and the deceased brother had contact.

And even then, you may face somewhat of an uphill battle. In general, the courts will only remove your father as administrator only if you can show that he is incapable of performing his duties or is unsuitable for the position.

If you decide to contest the appointment, which may be worthwhile if a fair amount of property is at stake or if you and your siblings are fueled by the idea of a moral victory, you may ultimately need to hire an experienced probate attorney for help.