family home sold by executor without beneficiaries consent

family trust executor sold home without consent of beneficiaries can
anything be done to ge home back?

Asked on March 14, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First, if the sale was to innocent buyers (e.g. not associates of the executor, colluding with him) and was for fair market value, there is no way to get the home back: the law does not take innocentl purchased property away from those who bought it. You may be able to sue the executor for compensation, depending on the facts (see below).
Second, it is not the case that the executor needs the beneficiaries' consent. The executor's duty is to follow the instructions of the will and to act in the beneficiaries' interest, but their interest does not necessarily mean doing what they want. The beneficiaries are not the executor's "boss." If there were multiple beneficiaries, so that it would be difficult for them to inherit the house as a group and make use of it, for example, selling it for the fair market price and splitting the proceeds among them may have been the best course of action. Similarly, if the house had a large mortgage or other costs on it and the estate couldn't afford to pay the running costs for it, it may have been better to sell the home than risk losing it. To have a possible claim against the executor, you'd have to show that he did either or both of 1) violating the terms of the will (e.g. the will instructed that the house not be sold or that they beneficiaries get to live in it) and/or 2) that it was not in the beneficiaries' interest (e.g. if the beneficiaries were the deceased's only child and his/her family and the home was a nicer one for them to live in than they could afford to buy, even with the proceeds of the sale).
Or if you can show that the beneficiary personally profited (e.g. pocketed money from the sale), he could be sued on that basis, too.


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