Yes, the executor of the will has final say, providing they are acting within the law. The executor of the will is the person named within the will to deal with the estate of the deceased.
The beneficiary is someone who is named to receive an inheritance from that estate. A person can be both the executor and a beneficiary.
The executor will need to follow the will, and act in the best interests of both the deceased and any beneficiaries. As long as they comply with these rules, they have the final say.
However, if the executor does not follow these rules or mismanages the estate, they can be taken to court. If a beneficiary can prove that the executor isn’t acting within the best interests of the estate, is taking too long, or is simply being unclear, they can be removed as executor.
If the executor is found to be self-dealing, going against the will to benefit themselves, they can be sued.
Being named as executor is a sign of trust, and it should be considered an honor. A good executor will remain open with any beneficiaries about the ongoing process. An executor is tasked with doing what is best for the deceased’s estate.
This involves the identification and appraisal of any assets, making arrangements with the funeral home, and paying off debts and taxes.
An executor should keep an account and recordings of how they have performed their duties. If they’ve been doing this correctly, it will be difficult to challenge them in court. The presumption is that an executor will have final say, unless wrongdoing can be proved.
The executor of the will is also required to inform any beneficiaries of what they stand to inherit. While there’s no set time period, they are expected to do so as soon as possible.
The executor isn’t required to notify someone if they aren’t named in the will, but they can choose to do so at their discretion.
The executor of the will is expected to have final say, but it does depend on how they perform their duties. If an executor is proven to have acted against the interests of the estate, then they no longer have final say.
A beneficiary, or potential beneficiary, is allowed to challenge the will.
The executor and any beneficiaries should try to maintain a clear and open relationship, as the handling of a will can be complicated. Open communication protects both parties from potential harm.
An executor does have certain powers to override a will, but that doesn’t mean they can simply cheat beneficiaries. If an executor is found to be cheating a beneficiary, they can be removed as an executor and potentially taken to court.
There are several things that an executor cannot do, as it would go against their duty. The broad duty of the executor is to do what is best for the deceased’s estate.
This requires following the terms laid out in the will. If they’re found not to be, they can be removed as executor.
An executor isn’t allowed to sign on behalf of the deceased. If a will is written but not signed, then the will is not lawful. The executor has no power to sign the will.
They are also not allowed to carry out any actions while the creator of the will is still alive. This is true for beneficiaries as well.
Similarly, once the creator of the will has passed, the executor isn’t allowed to make any changes. Even if the deceased discussed these changes with the executor. Unless the will was actually updated by the creator, it must stand as written.
The only time a change is possible is when the will has been contested, if it’s impossible to carry out an aspect of the will (for example, if a beneficiary has died), or if the beneficiaries give permission.
While the executor cannot change the will, they also can’t stop any beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries from contesting.
Although this is rarely a pleasant process, beneficiaries are within their rights to contest a will they feel is unfair. This is true no matter how well the executor follows the terms of the will.
An executor is also required to sell any assets at their correct value. They’re expected to treat the estate as if it were their own. A good executor will keep records of any appraisals and sales, to prove they’re acting within the estates best interest.
If the executor appears to be cheating any beneficiaries, they can be taken to court and removed as executor. For serious mismanagement, an executor could be subject to a civil lawsuit. These standards are in place to avoid any mismanagement.