Usually, a question wanders around the mind of almost all families who recently lost their close one “Does the probate attorney or executor have the final say in the probate?” Suppose the will’s executor has been abiding by the will as specified by the descendant and also fulfilling the fiduciary duties according to law. In that case, they have the final say in probate. However, there are cases when the executor does not have the final say.
Executors ensure the deceased’s wishes are carried out and handle the estate’s final affairs. The Probate Attorney is authorized by the county probate court to act in this role, but that doesn’t mean the executor has the final say in all estate decisions.
What are the responsibilities of the executor?
A person will appoint as executor of the will. They must be mandated to know the will and wishes of the individual who passed away, and so on. However, the probate court has appointed an executor to manage the estate’s affairs. Also, the executor can use the estate’s money in any way considered best for the estate and fulfill the deceased’s wishes.
If put, the executor’s responsibilities are to notify beneficiaries of the estate. They manage the unfinished business of the deceased, close bank accounts and debts, and distribute and protect the estate’s assets. The estate may have more obligations than the assets available to pay them. If the estate is insolvent, the executor should readjust things accordingly to pay all debts. This can include liquidating significant assets or minimizing inheritances.
Common concerns against executors
Be it the roller coaster of emotions that a family member is going through on the loss of a loved one or conflicts in the family. In some cases, beneficiaries of the estate might be concerned about the time. Therefore, a probate lawyer or executor manages the affairs of the deceased.
Here mentioned are some common concerns against the executors:
- First, things are taking too much time to settle: Although some estates might take more than ten months or a year to pay when it is taking too long, family members might start wondering if the executor is acting in a self-serving manner.
- The next concern that one might have is accounting errors. No matter if the assets are large or small, any accounting errors made by the executor can raise red flags. If the executor is self-dealing, then they may sue for creating damages in the civil court.
- Executor failing to sell the real estate: No matter if the executor is living in the deceased’s home or is not proceeding further with the sale of the estate, beneficiaries might have concerns about the motive of the executor for not closing the deal and allowing them to move ahead.
If the executor does not follow the above points, one can file a case against them for breach of fiduciary duty.
Why the executor has the final say in the estate’s liquidation?
The court specifies a general structure, which a will must comply with. Otherwise, it might consider voidable and, thus, contested by beneficiaries. Therefore, in essence, the executor will select by the tester. An executor is an individual whom the tester trusts to administer the will. It means that the property in the estate leaves the executor in the trust. Also, a well-written will specifies how one distributes the assets to the heirs and beneficiaries.
To continue, the executor is responsible for doing the following:
- Protecting all assets from unfair sales.
- Making arrangements with the funeral home for the last rites of the deceased.
- Taking inventory of all real estate and determining its market value.
Therefore, in case the executor challenges in court. They can show their due diligence with the points mentioned above. However, they also have maintained proper bookkeeping, and it can be challenging to override the executor or probate attorney of their final decision.
Now the executor of a will has a big responsibility; they require a formal authority to spend money from the estate to complete the task and manage the affairs effectively. Although the executor has the final say in the probate, the charge is not without limits. The executor must act in the best interest of the estate. Like any other job, there is a system that holds the executor accountable and thus ensures that no executor is misusing their authority.