Can an executor sell real estate and then distribute the funds to the beneficiaries?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an executor sell real estate and then distribute the funds to the beneficiaries?

My aunt passed away 4 years ago. Work
has been done to her house and now it’s
time to sell it. Her 5 nieces and
nephews are the beneficiaries of her
will. We are scattered around the
country, so it would be easier for
someone local Ohio to take care of the
sale. Can the executor do this?

Asked on December 3, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless otherwise instructed in the Will, an executor has the legal authority to sell any or all estate assets so long as doing so is in the best interests of the estate (and subsequently the beneficiaries). This is part of the executor's "fiduciary duty". Since there are several beneficiaries in this case, the selling of the home and distribution of the proceeds among them is the more pratical approach. Accordingly, the executor does not appear to have obused their power.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes: the executor has the legal power to sell assets of the estate (like a house) and the legal (fiduciary) duty to act in the best interests of the heirs and beneficiaries, which will often mean selling real estate and distributing the proceeds (after taking out cost of sale, paying any mortgage, etc.) to the beneficiaries, especially when there are a number of them (since it would be hard for many people to physically use or occupy the real estate) or they are not local (making it difficult for them to use, manage, or even sell it themselves). This would be a legal and appropriate action for the executor.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption