Can and Cannot Do of an Executor in Real Estate

By: ROS Team

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A loved one’s death can be difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to handling the loved one’s property. The tasks of an executor can also be challenging, but they must be completed with dignity and respect. Executors are tasked with settling all of the deceased’s final affairs, which includes anything related to the estate.

The executor is appointed by the decedent prior to their death or by the court if no executor is named in the decedent’s will, or if there is no will.

1- First Thing an Executor Should Do
2- What an Executor Can Do
3- What an Executor Cannot Do
4- Is it possible for the Sale of a Property
5- Can Executor Sell a House

What is the First Thing an Executor Should Do?

It’s important to have a thorough grasp of your responsibilities and the scope of your authority as an executor to carry out this critical role effectively. Executors are responsible for managing everything from property maintenance to property taxes, and unpaid bills to bequeathments.

Executors are charged with carrying out the final wishes of the dead as they are documented in the decedent’s last will. However, there are several things that executors can’t do depending on the circumstances.

What an Executor Can Do?

1) Locate the decedent’s property and maintain it until it is given to the heirs.
2) Determine whether a case has to be filed in probate court.
3) Submit the will to the appropriate probate court. This is an essential legal procedure even if there will be no probate process.
4) Be in charge of the regular stuff.
5) Pay debts and taxes.

What an Executor Cannot Do

1) Sign the will on the decedent’s behalf.
2) Ensure that the will is completed before the decedent’s death.
3) Prevent anybody from contesting the contents of the will.
4) Change the beneficiaries who are named in the will.
5) Prevent the heirs or beneficiaries from challenging the will

can the executor be a beneficiary

What must an Executor tell Beneficiaries?

Executors have a legal responsibility to furnish beneficiaries with specific documents. Such as an inventory and appraisal of estate assets and an estate accounting. Which should include such things as a complete list of all estate assets and their worth as of the date of death.

Is it possible for a Beneficiary to Prevent the Sale of a Property?

If you are thinking if a beneficiary can stop the sale of a property. No, beneficiaries can’t halt a property’s sale. However, if the executor is unjustly benefitting from the sale of the property by being paid money under the table or by buying the property for less than fair market value. It is possible that beneficiaries can step in and contest the sale with the probate court.

Can an Executor Do Whatever They Want?

No, Unless they are the single beneficiary of the will, an executor of a will is not allowed to take everything. An executor is a fiduciary to the estate’s beneficiaries and is not always one of the beneficiaries himself or herself. Serving as an executor allows a person solely to obtain an executor fee for their services.

Can an Executor Sell a House?

Many individuals consider their house their biggest and most valuable asset. That’s why it’s often included in wills with specific instructions on what should happen to it once the owner passes away. However, the executor may be allowed to sell the decedent’s real estate in some instances.

Can the Executor Sell a House During the Probate Process?

The decedent’s last will and testament and state statutes grant executors the authority to sell their real estate at the time of their death. The executor can sell the property during the probate process, but only if permission is expressly granted in the will.

Can the Executors Sell the Decedent’s Real Estate Without Beneficiary Consent?

Yes, but doing so could create tension with beneficiaries if they want to keep the property. In some cases, the executor may need to sell a decedent’s real estate to take care of final expenses or other financial obligations. However, beneficiaries may believe that they are the rightful owners of the property. This might cause some friction between the two parties.

The executor may also legally sell a house without getting permission from the beneficiaries. Even if the decedent’s will doesn’t expressly prohibit the property from being sold. The executor can also sell the property if the will gives the executor the freedom to handle the property as they deem appropriate.

How Does an Executor Sell a Decedent’s Home?

The decedent’s will must first be sent to the probate court for review. Executors must do this before they can legally sell the property. The Executors must also follow the rules and meet communicated timelines during the probate process to remain in the role as executors and to avoid legal complications.

Executors can sell the property as soon as the decedent’s assets have been legally transferred to them. He or she would then follow the same process for listing the house on the market as any other seller. Keep in mind, though, that probate real estate transactions can be a lot more complicated than regular transactions. So it’s important to work with a real estate agent who is well-versed in the process.

If an executor makes disclosures, the selling process might be slowed down by a court confirmation. Executors shall not postpone the distribution of the estate for their own or any other party’s benefit. Although the executor’s year is up, the court will not compel the distribution of the estate if the executors can demonstrate that they have a legitimate basis to delay.

Selling the house as quickly as possible is also a good idea. Property that isn’t sold will incur expenses like mortgage payments and utility bills that will need to be paid in the meantime. To help expedite the property’s sale, secure a real estate agent during the probate process.

Final Thoughts

Being in charge of the assets and possessions of someone who has passed away is a complex, stressful, and emotionally-draining experience. Serving as an executor requires a great deal of effort. Which can become more difficult due to the time allotted for carrying out the decedent’s final wishes.

If you’ve been named the executor of an estate, be sure you’re following all relevant rules and regulations and fulfilling your duties. Also, consider consulting with an attorney during the process to help ensure you’re meeting the responsibilities in accordance with local laws and the decedent’s last will and testament.