If a Will states all assets and real estate be split 50/50, can an executer keep all of the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If a Will states all assets and real estate be split 50/50, can an executer keep all of the property?

My father passed and my sister was listed as administrator. Can she legally keep all of the estate?

Asked on October 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, the executor or adminstrator may NOT keep all the property. The executor is bound by the terms of the will--she must do what the will tells her to. If she does not, she is violating her authority and also breaching her "fiduciary duty," or legal duty of fairness and good faith to the beneficiaries under the will. If she keeps more than she should, another beneficiary could bring a lawsuit against the estate and her to force her to repay or return what she took and to distirbute it the way the will says. To explore that option, consult with a probate lawyer.

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