Families can be complicated and difficult; many of the stresses that exist just beneath the surface are brought up during a time of loss. And when it comes to the inheritances during such distressing times, distrust and grudges can run rampant.
But no matter what your personal standing with the executor of a will is, by definition they must execute what has been stated in the will and not apply their own opinions or thoughts to its contacts. They are entrusted to ensure that the Will is followed to the letter and that all of the beneficiaries receive what has been written. During the time when the executor of the Will is in possession of the access, they are a fiduciary. They represent the deceased for the sake of completing tax transactions, settling debts and closing accounts.
If you are not sure that they are executing the Will correctly, then please contact your nearest probate solicitors Portsmouth for advice. Or if you have been named as an executor and aren’t sure where to start, also contact a solicitor who specializes in probate for guidance.
What can the executor do?
You should expect to gain access to the deceased bank account financial records including tax life insurance and any possible financial investment instruments. You/an executor cannot withdraw or claim any of these assets as their own, but may liquidate them in order to pay debts and tax bills before closing the account. This can result in loss of access by those who were financially dependent on the deceased.
Could the executive of the estate sell the house you’re living in?
Yes they could but they would have to have a justified reason for doing so. If it is necessary in order to pay a bill, or perhaps it has been explicitly stated in the will that the property is to be sold and it’s value is divided between family members, then they can legally sell the property.
If an action is not justified then no, the executive cannot sell property or alter the estate based on their own preferences.
Can executor of the estate be charged or changed?
If an executor of the estate is deemed incapable of performing their duties (for instance they are suffering from dementia or some other degenerative condition) this can prevent them from ever becoming one. And so, someone else will be chosen to fill this role, which will usually be a legal representative.
Failing to correctly manage the estate by either acting against the Will or deliberately wasting or embezzling parts of the estate is fraud and criminal charges should be pursued as soon as possible if you have evidence.
A note of caution
The conduct of the executor can be scrutinised too, as can the very Will itself when someone is asking for a ruling on the distribution of assets. But it’s important to keep in mind that as unpleasant this time may be for you and as unfair as the situation may seem, the costs will increase dramatically if court proceedings start and it may be important to try to keep a rational perspective on the situation before rushing ahead.