When someone dies in the family, a lot of complications can happen. Apart from being grief-stricken, one can face a lot of legal issues as well. One such issue is the distribution of assets of the deceased. For this distribution to occur, probate must be issued by the executor of the will.
However, many people often think about this question when such situations arrive – “can an executor decide who gets what”
If you are going through such a phase with this question in your mind, then you need to read this article now to get a clearer picture.
What Power Does The Executor Of A Will Have?
The power of executor of will are:
1. Notify Heirs Of Probate
Notifying creditors of the probate procedure is another duty the executor has early on in the process. States have different requirements for this work; some call for letters to be addressed to known creditors and a notice to be printed in a neighborhood newspaper. Other states just demand that the notification be published for a specific amount of time.
2. Manage Debts
The executor can and must settle creditors’ debts as they come in before distributing assets. In addition, they have access to any bank accounts to transfer money because of the documentation proving their legitimacy as representatives of the estate.
The executor will also be responsible for filing an estate tax return, paying any state and federal taxes due, and paying estate taxes. They must document all payments and must keep an accounting record for the court. Before dispersing assets, they will need to use the estate cash to settle any outstanding bills, such as funeral costs, back taxes, and other obligations.
3. Manage Assets
The executor must list all of the estate’s assets during this time. The executor may need several hours or more to compile an exhaustive inventory of an estate with many possessions. They can also be required to estimate the market worth of those assets.
The completion date for the inventory must meet tight requirements in several states. The executor will decide the assets that are subject to probate and those with a direct beneficiary.
4. Distribute Assets According To The Will
The executor is in charge of distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries and heirs. This gets done by following the terms of the will after all obligations have been settled. Transferring real estate or other property ownership falls under this category frequently.
To distribute estate money, the probate court may compel the executor to submit a thorough accounting of all payments and revenue to the estate and any other information that influences estate finances. Finally, after doing all of this work, they may ask the court to close the probate. Once that is approved, their role as executor is complete.
Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What?
Can a will’s executor make distribution decisions? Generally speaking, no. They are responsible for distributing your property following the directives you included in your will. However, the executor may make these choices if the deceased author of the Will does not provide specific directions.
For instance, if a family member made a Will that directs the liquidation and distribution of their business to his family but leaves open the question of what should happen to the other assets, the executor would be responsible for making that decision.
Therefore, can an executor decide who gets what? The answer depends on the will in hand and the instructions written on it.
What Can’t An Executor Do?
What are the things an executor cannot do?
The duties of an executor are not all-inclusive. For example, the beneficiaries and their names cannot be changed after you pass away or while you are still alive. The executor must carry out your Will faithfully as possible. The executor is powerless to overrule your wishes if you specify your children will get the assets.
Additionally, an executor cannot prevent heirs from challenging the Will. An heir has the right and power to challenge the Will in court, for instance, and the executor here cannot stop them if they believe it is erroneous or was signed under false pretenses.
Does the executor of a will have the final say? The executor cannot sign a Will for the decedent. If you die without executing a will, no one will be able to do so on your behalf after your death. A Will that was written but not signed before death would not be upheld in court since the decedent did not sign it.
Last but not least, the executor must wait until your demise before starting to distribute your assets.
Common Complaints Against Executors
Some of the most common complaints given by surviving heirs of the will against their executors are:
1. Too Much Time Taken
Beneficiaries frequently believe that the probate time should go rapidly, even though things are taking too much time. Beneficiaries fail to realize that the time taken can range from months to years. This is based on the amount of the estate and whether or not another beneficiary heir challenges the Will.
2. Accounting Errors
The Executor occasionally declines to provide the beneficiaries with accounting. A lawyer with expertise in probate can advise in this situation. You can sue them in a civil court to recover losses. This will remove them from their position as Executors.
3. Refusal To Sell Property
In certain cases, the Executor might reside in a home that the testator formerly owned. It may be considered self-dealing. Send a letter or an email outlining the situation to start a conversation, and save documents from being presented to the courts in case they don’t answer promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Many people have asked questions related to can an executor decide who gets what on the internet. The answers to some of them are:
⁍ Sometimes, in accordance with the will, you might often find that the executor might be a direct heir of the deceased. However, for this to occur, the deceased must mention this in the will.
⁍ To probate a will and finally distribute all the assets can take a short time, or even a pretty long time. This depends on the amount of property and assets that need to be calculated and distributed.
⁍ In case no will was left by the deceased, then all the property will be equally divided amongst their children. However, if such a thing happens, a lot of complications arise, and the probate period is extended.
Final Verdict: Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What?
Can an executor decide who gets what?
In most cases, a will’s executor cannot just determine who receives what. They are in charge of distributing your property in accordance with the directives you included in your will.
Here, the executor oversees the distribution of your estate, handles your assets and any property till the time the beneficiaries have come of age, verifies your Will if it is challenged in Court, and more. However, the court has the last say if your Will is contested.