Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What?

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“Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What? In the event of a death, the deceased’s estate must pass among the heirs through a lengthy process called probate. An executor ensures the heirs receive their inheritance after completing probate.”

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Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What?

You need to know what your executor can and cannot do to protect your deceased loved one’s estate if you have recently lost someone you love.


About Executor.

Whether an estate has been settled properly, the executor must ensure that all legal and financial matters are handled correctly. The deceased’s last wishes follow, and the beneficiaries receive their inheritance according to their inheritance rights.

An executor has certain powers in this role. They can access the deceased’s financial records and personal items and sell parts of the estate before the closing of the estate.

Executors cannot, however, decide how the inheritance will be shared. Executors need to follow the instructions spelled out in the Will. When a will is absent, they must distribute the inheritance by the succession laws in the jurisdiction where the deceased lived.

The executor is accountable for ensuring that all assets mentioned in the Will are properly accounted for and for giving these assets to the right person. The assets can be financial assets, like:

  • Bonds,
  • Stocks,
  • Money market investments and real estate,
  • Direct investments,
  • And even objects of art or collectibles.

The executor must estimate the estate’s value using the death date as an alternative date for valuation as specified in the Internal Revenue Code.

The executor is legally bound to fulfill those wishes and acts in the interests of those who have died. 2 The executor could be anyone. However, it is typically an accountant, lawyer, or family member. The only limit is that they must be over 18 and not have any previous convictions for a felony.

Many people choose to be executors, believing it will take years to perform any tasks. However, performing the job correctly means working immediately.


What Is An Executor’s Main Responsibility?

An executor’s main responsibility is to follow the deceased’s wishes, carry out the instructions in their Will, and act on behalf of the estate. To benefit the estate, they must act according to their fiduciary duty. These duties include:

  • Applying for probate and finding the Will – Testators (who create wills) and executors should have discussed locating the Will upon passing away. To validate the will and receive court authorization to serve as an executor, the executor must submit the will, a death certificate, and an official probate application to the appropriate probate court.
  • Creating an inventory of assets – It is also necessary to determine the estate’s value by locating any assets that belong to it and creating an inventory of the assets.


Executor’s Main Responsibility.


In addition to appraising those assets, an executor is responsible for maintaining and securing those assets. If the executor inherits a house, they are in charge of keeping it in good repair and that the mortgage continues until probate is complete.

  • Paying off debts and taxes – To distribute inheritance, executors must identify the estate’s liabilities. For example, the estate is responsible for paying outstanding debts, such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debt. In cases where the estate has generated income during probate, you must also file an estate tax return and a final tax return.
  • Distributing the inheritance and closing the estate — when all loose ends have gathered, the executor distributes the remaining estate according to the beneficiaries’ Will. As part of closing the estate, the executor must petition the court formally if there is no will. Without a will, the executor must follow the laws of succession.


Being an Executor

  • Ensure the person testing the evidence has a log of debts and assets. This includes savings accounts, bank accounts, policies for insurance property, and more.
  • Find exactly where your original Will is, the list of kept assets, and how to access the documents.
  • Find out the names and contact numbers of the attorneys or agents identified by the testator and their roles.
  • Discuss the testator’s wishes about funeral or memorial services and burial instructions or cremation.
  • Talk about the testamentary Will with the executor and, when possible, with the beneficiaries to avoid any problems later.


Power will consist of an Executor.

By the instructions outlined in the deceased’s Will, executors have the right and responsibility to carry them out. As a result of these letters of testamentary, the executor receives confirmation that they have permission to act on behalf of the estate, which the probate court validates.

Executors are responsible for managing the assets of an estate to ensure their safety and well-maintenance. Such tasks may include caring for pets and arranging for repairs on the house before putting it on the market.

If necessary, an executor may also liquidate assets and sell the property to repay the estate’s debts. However, they need help to decide how the estate should be split independently. Instead, they must follow instructions contained in the Will or jurisdictional succession laws.


An Executor Authority To Decide What Is Given To Whom.

Does the executor of a will decide who gets what? Executors of Wills usually have little authority to decide what is given to whom. Their responsibility is to distribute your assets according to your Will. In some cases, the executor may make such decisions if the creator of the Will did not provide clear instructions.

For example, if a family member created a Will that specified how the company should be liquidated and divided among his family members but did not specify how to distribute the remaining assets, then the executor would have to decide what to do with the remaining assets.


What Are Few Things That An Executor Can Do?

An executor can only do a few things. They need to execute your Will to the best of their ability by not changing the names of beneficiaries after death or during your lifetime. For example, the executor cannot change your children’s names if you choose them to receive your assets.

A Will’s executor cannot stop any heir from contesting it in probate court. A Will can trigger a challenge by an heir or beneficiary concerned about its accuracy or signatory fraud.

An executor can’t sign a Will for the deceased. Creating a Will and not signing it before you pass away won’t hold up in court because the deceased did not. If you pass away without signing it, no one can sign it for you after you die.

Lastly, before distributing your assets, the executor must first die.


Can an Executor Be a Beneficiary?

There may be heirs or beneficiaries who offer to be executors. They may be referred to as personal representatives or estate administrators.

As an executor, the surviving spouse may be able to handle the tasks if they are physically and mentally fit. An executor may also be one of the decedent’s adult children. Sometimes, there is only one beneficiary, and that beneficiary fulfills the executor’s duties.


Is There Anything Beneficiaries Can Do If An Executor Violates Their Will?

It is possible to seek the legal removal of an executor you don’t trust if you’re not getting the services you need and are fairly certain you won’t get your entitlements.

However, consider these questions before pursuing legal action:

  • Are all my assets in my possession without needing costly legal advice?
  • Is there anyone else who would be willing to file a lawsuit against the executor with me?
  • Does my communication with the executor have a written record?
  • If the executor has violated their duties to the estate, what evidence do I have?
  • Can I pay the attorney’s fees if I have a legal dispute with my inherited assets?

You can take legal action to remove the executor if you feel confident about your answers to these questions.


Limits of the Executor

The executor carries a lot of responsibility over an estate, but there are limits on what they can do. It’s essential to understand what executors cannot do.


Can an Executor Sell Property?

It is also possible for executors to face restrictions in selling off estate assets. If the estate account doesn’t have enough money to pay any debts, they’re usually allowed to sell estate property for fair market value to pay any debts.

Can executor decide inheritance? In addition to selling property, executors can split the remaining assets as directed by the Will. However, a particular heir cannot sell assets.

The executor of a will cannot sell assets requiring court approval before the court approves them. In those states, the executor cannot sell any assets requiring court approval before the court approves it.


What Happens If Someone Contests A Will? Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What?

Can an executor decide who gets what without a will? An executor can’t prevent an heir from contesting your Will. A fiduciary duty of an executor is to perform the Will as efficiently as possible following the law. If an heir contests your Will during your lifetime or after you have passed away.

When naming your children to receive your assets, your executor cannot change that. An heir’s right is to contest a Will in probate court if they believe it is inaccurate or made under pretenses. The executor cannot stop them.

After you have passed away, the executor cannot sign your Will. Only sign one for you if you pass away with signing a Will. A Will that hasn’t been signed by the deceased before it takes effect won’t hold up in court.

If a deceased person’s heirs want to contest the executor of the Will, they may hire an attorney to determine whether the Will is valid and if the executor is valid. If a new friend is suddenly appointed executor when a family member passes away, an heir may dispute their Will.


Can an executor decide who gets what?

Can an executor decide who gets what if there is no will? No. In most cases, the executor has no say in who receives the property. Executors are accountable for carrying out the testator’s wishes, as set out within the deed.

But should the person who made the will (who wrote it) distribute only some of the assets within his will, their executor could determine what to do with the unassigned property.


Remove The Executor Of An Estate.

It is possible to remove the executor of an estate from their duties if someone files a request with the probate court and it is approved. Executors usually lose their jobs only if they mismanage estate assets or commit fraud on behalf of the estate.

It is also possible to remove them if their duties were not done properly or if they neglected their tasks or behaved in ways that were harmful to the estate.

Among the reasons a court would approve removing an executor are:

  • The executor mismanaged assets.
  • There is a record of your needing to provide an accurate account of the estate’s assets.
  • Executors are guilty of crimes.
  • Documentation proves that the executor refused to carry out his fiduciary duties.
  • Incapacity of the executor


The Ultimate Authority in the Estate Settlement Process.

Rather than the executor of the Will, the probate court has ultimate authority in the estate settlement process. It will inspect all of the executor’s actions and grant the executor the petition to close the estate once the inheritance has occurred.

When settling an estate, you’re not alone if you find yourself stressed out by the responsibilities that come with it. If you’re struggling with the responsibilities that come with it, you’re not alone.


Limitation of Time for Paying the Beneficiaries by the Executor?

There is no simple answer to this question. The executor must work diligently to arrange payment to each beneficiary immediately.

Even with the executors’ responsibility to ensure beneficiaries receive money or property, the probate process may cause beneficiaries to wait until they receive their payouts. A beneficiary may take up to one year to receive an inheritance, depending on the size of the estate, its debts, and taxes.

It varies from state to state, but generally, the process goes as follows:

  • Submit the Will for Probate — In addition to being an executor. After the will goes through probate court, the beneficiaries are one step closer to receiving their inheritance. Each state has its deadline for filing a will with the probate court.
  • File an Inventory — you need an inventory of estate assets. An inventory compiles the value of all estate properties, money, and other assets. The executor can then use a completed inventory to decide whether federal or state taxes apply or if debts need to be settled.
  • Pay Taxes and Debts — Executors pay taxes and estate debts before assets pass to beneficiaries.

It can be overwhelming to come up with an estate plan. With our help, you can ease some of your concerns.



Generally, executors of a Will are not permitted to decide who gets what. They must distribute your property by your instructions. Executors manage your assets and any properties until your beneficiaries are of an appropriate age, supervise the distribution of your estate, validate your Will in case it fails in Probate Court, and more. It is still up to the Probate Court to decide whether your Will is valid if disputed.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...

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