What are some things the executor of a will can’t do?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2020 | Will Disputes |

When a person dies in the state of Pennsylvania, the executor of their will is responsible for fulfilling their last wishes. It’s the executor’s job to pay off debts, distribute assets and ensure that everything goes according to plan. In a sense, the executor has control over the estate since they can decide where the money goes. However, this doesn’t mean they have control over everything. In some cases, their powers are limited to prevent a potential conflict of interest.

What are the limits to the executor’s decision-making powers?

Overall, every decision that an executor makes must be in the estate’s best interest. This means that they must follow the will as closely as possible. It also means that they can’t give themselves assets or properties unless they were specifically given these assets in the will. Every time the executor makes a decision, they have to be able to explain how it benefits the estate.

Additionally, beneficiaries have the power to challenge an executor. If they suspect that the executor is making inappropriate decisions, such as passing on a family business in a way that violates the will or business law, they can hire an attorney and take the matter to court. In extreme cases, the court might remove the executor from the estate and assign a new person to be in charge of the will.

Despite these factors, an executor still has considerable power over an estate. They can decide how the money is distributed, within reason, and sell or liquidate parts of the estate to pay off debts. They can also distribute assets to themselves if they were named as the beneficiary. For this reason, it’s important to choose an executor who you know will have your estate’s best interests at heart.

Where can you find legal assistance with estate disputes?

If your loved one’s will is unclear or you suspect that the executor isn’t acting fairly, you might wish to hire an attorney to help you challenge the will. Your attorney may help you argue the case in court and potentially remove the executor. An attorney may also help you with other disputes over properties, debts, money allocation and more.