If someone is both Executor and full Benefactor of a will, can they give the inheritance to someone else?

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If someone is both Executor and full Benefactor of a will, can they give the inheritance to someone else?

I have a question about my father’s estate that’s both in Rhode Island and
Florida.

In my father’s will, he named his mother my grandmother both Executor and
Benefactor of the will.

So the will states his mother gets everything of his and she’s Executor.

So my question is, does she have to give herself all of the estate as the will
states, or can she choose to take some of the estate and have me inherit the
rest? Would I have to pay taxes if that’s the case?

I’m not in the will. It’s an old will from his army days, I was a young child
when it was written.

Asked on October 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, she can't go against what the will says, and she can't add other people to inherit under it who are not in the will. Obviously, she can take whatever she inherits and gift it to you, all at once or  over years; or set up a trust for you and put the money, etc. into it; or simply keep it and will it to you when she passes; or any combination of the above. To determine which option(s) might be best for you and her, consult with an accountant.
Old wills are just as enforceable as new wills, by the way, so long as they were not changed, revised, revoked, or replaced by a new will, all of which would have to be done in writing.


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