Court Removes One Co-Executor in Deadlock Between Two

Mr. Justice Butler in Levi-Bandel v. Talesiesin Estate 2011 BCSC 247 ordered the removal one of two co-executor/trustees, where a deadlock had existed between them.

The administration of the estate had ground to a standstill for the previous two years.

The court found facts such as:

  • the 2 co-executor/trustees were unable to communicate;
  • they were unable to provide joint instructions to the professionals hired to do the legal and accounting work, and bills were not paid on time;
  • one of the professionals had to commence a court action against the estate to get her account paid;
  • one of the co- executor/trustees was in a potential conflict of interest by reason of a threatened court action for personal injuries
  • the estate administration was at a standstill and had been so for 2 years.

It was argued that there was authority in section 30 of the Trustee Act to order the removal of a co-executor/trustee by a non-beneficiary.

The court however concluded that it had inherent jurisdiction to make such an order.

(See Mckay v. Howlett 2003 BCCA 555.)

The court ordered the removal of the party found responsible for the delay.

The Court relied upon the legal principle that the jurisdiction of the court to remove trustees and substitute new ones in cases requiring such a remedy, is the welfare of the beneficiaries of the estate. applauds both the finding of inherent jurisdiction by the Court , and the exercise of common sense, to remove the impeding party.

Many estates are held up by such dysfunction amongst the appointed executors, and this decision assists in the removal of difficult co-executors/trustees.

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