Can company assets be sold while an estate is in probate?

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Can company assets be sold while an estate is in probate?

Husband and wife owned a real estate company, an S corp. Husband died 3 weeks ago. He was the broker; she is the agent. A friend agreed to come in as the broker but the day after he started, he announced that he was shutting down the company and had sold all of the active listings to another company. He is not part of the company. Some listings have offers. He made some deal where she gets a small percentage. Aren’t these listings company assets subject to probate and can he legally sell them when he does not own the company?

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness!  First, I am so sorry for your loss.  Second, you are correct: the assets of the company could in fact be assets of the estate.  But even if they are not assets of the estate ho has no right to do anything to dissipate that which is not his.  He can not sell off assets.  He can not take a cut on deals already in place.  Who is the executor of the estate?  The executor has the ability to enjoin him from doing anything to these assets until such time as they are determined not to be estate assets and by then, he will be gone and you will have gotten an attorney - like yesterday.  Good luck to you.  


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