5 Things an Executor Can and Cannot Do, Like sell Property to Himself?

If you’ve recently inherited a property or find yourself the executor of a will — without knowing exactly all that this entails — then you might have a lot of questions about your role. So what can an executor do? Can an executor sell a property to himself? What can an executor do exactly? Read on to learn all about what an executor can and cannot do.

What is an Executor?

woman signing a document at a table

An executor is the person or institution who has been appointed to carry out the terms of the Will and Last Testament of the deceased person. Often times the executor is a child of the deceased person, or an institution like a bank or a lawyer. The executor is responsible for all the assets listed in the will.

An executor will also handle all estate matters such as distributing assets, filing tax returns if necessary, and settling debts to settle the estate.

Things an Executor Cannot Do

The person responsible for executing a will does not have free reign over an estate to do what he wishes. Though there are times when he must make decisions regarding the estate if the testator (person who wrote the will) did not make the decisions clear, the executor must still follow legal restrictions.

They cannot remove people from the will or substitute others — that was the sole decision of the person writing the will and the executor must abide by those wishes. The executor cannot prevent beneficiaries from contesting the will and the only reason for legally delaying payments to beneficiaries is when there are taxes or debts on the estate that must be paid first.

If a will was not signed before the death, then the will itself loses all legal binding power. An executor cannot sign the will for the now-deceased person, nor can they start executing the will while the testator is still alive, no matter their mental or physical health.

If the beneficiaries of a will feel the executor is not fulfilling his role correctly then they can bring the case before a judge for review, possibly ending with the executor being removed from the estate.

Can an Executor Sell a Property to Himself?

A "For Sale" sign in front of a house with "Sold" across it

One of the most common questions regarding an executor is “Can they sell a property to himself?” There are a couple of scenarios where they could purchase the property, or in other words, where an executor sells a property to himself.

If the executor would like to purchase the home then it is legal for him to buy shares of property from the other beneficiaries. This is most common when there are several adult siblings and one would like to purchase the family home while the others prefer cash for their share of the home’s value.

The executor of the will and the beneficiaries may want to rent the property which is ok if all the beneficiaries agree to it.

When none of the beneficiaries want to keep the inherited piece of real estate then it is required that the executor must list the property for sale at the fair market value. If the executor tried to sell the home for less than that amount then they could be removed as executor of the estate.

Can the Executor of a Will Take Everything?

a computer screen showing the mouse icon hovering over a folder titled "assets"

The executor has legal duties such as paying taxes and settling debts and distributing assets as outlined in the will. If an executor is found stealing or lying to keep certain assets hidden or for themselves then they can be found in contempt of the probate court. This situation involves fines and possibly a jail sentence. Beneficiaries can take an executor to court if they think that the will is not being followed correctly.

Things the Executor Can Do

Because estates and wills can vary, so too can the role of an executor differ. However, there are several basic duties that they will fulfill. For example, if a will gets challenged or ends up in probate court they will help to validate the will. They will also arrange for the distribution of the testator’s assets and all property to the beneficiaries. In some cases the executor determines which beneficiaries inherit real estate according to the will and they closeout the estate, paying taxes, debts or related expenses.

Need to Sell an Inherited Property?

a man signs a contract for a home in exchange for cash

Being an executor of a will can be a large job, not to mention a big responsibility at a time when you are experiencing the grief of the passing of your family member. When none of the beneficiaries want to keep the home then you have the added burden of selling a property. If you would like to quickly sell your inherited property, then Gary Buys Houses can provide a cash offer and close on the home sale in as little as 7 days.

Move forward with the duties of being an executor without dealing with listing, showing, negotiating contracts, getting appraisals, etc. that all come with selling a home the conventional way. Gary buys houses in all types of condition and takes away the stress and extra work involved with selling a home. Contact us today to learn more.

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