Executor Wants To Sell Property to Himself

By: ROS Team

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An executor is a person who has the legal authority to manage property left behind by a deceased person. He or she plays a crucial part in numerous issues related to the deceased person’s estate, including making sure the beneficiaries listed in the will receive his or her inheritance and ensuring creditors get paid.

However, is it unacceptable for an executor to buy the property themselves? In this post, we’ll discuss whether or not an executor can buy the property for which they provide oversight.

Is it possible for an Executor to Sell the Property to himself?

You might be wondering, can an executor sell property to himself? The answer is no. The property doesn’t belong to the executor. In addition, an executor may not do anything with the deceased’s property without the beneficiaries’ approval. It is only fair that he takes charge of the property. If the executor sold the property without permission, it would be outright embezzlement.

Consider the following scenario: an estate includes a mansion valued at $1 million, which the executor sells to himself for $200,000. This enables him to “flip” the house and walk away with $800,000, or live on the property for only $200,000. Even if the executor is a beneficiary, he is responsible for managing the estate to benefit all beneficiaries, not just himself.

Can an Executor Sell the Property without all Beneficiaries’ Approval?

Beneficiaries hold all the rights to the property. Once all the beneficiaries agree, an executor can do what he or she pleases with the property in question, including buying it.

Some executors are also beneficiaries. If that’s the case, his consent would also be required to proceed with the sale. But, again, the other beneficiaries would have to agree. In addition, a beneficiary who is also an executor can’t purchase the property for a dollar, even if the executor himself wants to do so.

What does an Executor of a Will do?

An executor is in charge of administering the property per the owner’s final wishes. As it relates to property management, he’s responsible for:

  • Filing a probate petition with the Court;
  • Determining the deceased’s assets;
  • Notifying heirs and any other interested parties;
  • Managing the estate, including paying the deceased’s outstanding debts; and
  • Distribute funds and/or property to heirs.

What an Executor cannot do

An executor is accountable for the recipients of the estate. That means he or she must handle the property as if it were their own. An executor cannot:

1. Do Anything Outlined in the Will before the Testator (the creator of the will) Dies

Before the testator dies, neither the executor nor the beneficiaries have any rights to the estate. Just being listed in the last will and testament doesn’t mean you have any say over how assets should be handled.

2. Sign an Unwritten Will in the Decedent’s Name

When a person dies without a will, he or she died without communicating how their estate should be handled after their gone. The state determines what happens with the estate if there is no will.

3. Manage the Estate as the Executor before the Court Appoints them as such

An executor can not legally start acting as the executor of an estate until the Court formally designates as such, even if it’s documented in the will.

4. Sell Assets at a Lower Market Value without Beneficiary Approval

According to the will, you must treat the estate’s assets as if they were your own, and ensure that the recipients receive their inheritance. Offering assets at a bargain to friends, for example, violates that duty.

5. Change Any Arrangement Outlined in the Will

And executor can’t modify any part of the will. It’s unfortunate if you like your cousin and agree with him that he should have been named in the will. If he is an heir-at-law, he can petition the Court, but you, as an executor, do not have the authorization to make changes to the will.

6. Stop the Beneficiaries or Heirs from Contesting the Will

Being the executor is especially tough if the beneficiaries or heirs dispute the will’s contents. But that’s their right to do it. It’s not the executor’s place to stand in the way.

Can an Executor Transfer Property to himself?

The executor cannot transfer estate property to himself since the property is owned by someone else and, therefore, cannot be transferred unless the executor pays the total purchase price for the property. As previously stated, doing so could result in a variety of legal complications.

What to do if the Executor of Property is not doing his Job

Here’s a common question with significant and regular relevance: If you are one of the beneficiaries and the executor is not fulfilling their duties, what can you do? It may be due to several different factors, ranging from personality conflicts to more serious issues like the executor being corrupt. Here are a few things you can do.

Understand the Schedule for Settlement

The first thing you must do at that point is determine the timeline for estate settlement. You may believe that distributing the property will take some time. However, this may not be the case.

Take Legal Action

It may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the executor if the problem persists. Research what’s necessary to file suit and seek legal counsel.


Can an Executor Sell a Property before Probate is Granted?

An executor generally cannot sell a property before probate is granted, as they do not yet have the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate.

Can an Executor Sell Property below its Value?

No, because the beneficiaries or other interested parties may challenge the sale of property below its market value as a violation of this duty.

What is the Breach of Self-Dealing Rule?

The self-dealing rule is a legal principle that prohibits a person in a position of trust, such as a trustee or executor, from engaging in transactions that benefit their personal interests at the expense of the beneficiaries or the estate.

How long can an Executor take to Settle an Estate?

In general, settling an estate can take eight months to a year or more, particularly if the estate is subject to probate or if there are disputes among the beneficiaries.

Can Beneficiaries Force the Sale of the Property?

Beneficiaries generally cannot force the sale of property that is part of an estate without the executor’s consent or a court order.

Final Thoughts

An executor is the property’s primary fiduciary. However, if the executor is dishonest, it could have long-term negative implications.

Executors don’t have the legal authority to sell the deceased’s property without the beneficiary’s consent. We hope that this post has helped address whether an executor can sell the property to himself.