What can be done if an executor does not follow the terms of a Will?

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What can be done if an executor does not follow the terms of a Will?

My mother passed and my brother is executor of her Will. In in it states that I can live in house for a year at $600 a month; it’s now 6 months and my brother is selling the house. Can he do this?

Asked on May 13, 2014 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

An executor *must* follow the terms of the will; if not, a beneficiary can bring a legal action in surrogates (or probate or chancery; it goes by several names) court to enforce the terms of the will. Of course, it's not a given that he is violating the will--it takes time to sell, after alll, and the sale may not be closed until after a year has passed--in which case, you will have gotten what you were entitled to (the right to live there for a year). Even if the sale closes sooner than that, it could include as a term or condition that the buyer rent to you for the rest of the year.


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