In my wife’s Will she lists brother-in-law as executor, if she dies before me does he have control over everything?

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In my wife’s Will she lists brother-in-law as executor, if she dies before me does he have control over everything?

I am OK with it if I die before her but will it cause problems for me if she dies before me? I would think that because I am her husband, that the brother-in-law would not have any power over me.

Asked on September 26, 2010 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The executor of an estate has responsibility to follow the wishes of the decedent as indicated in the Last Will and Testament.  That means that they have "control" over the assets to some extent.  But they also have the obligation to make sure that all the debts and liabilities of the estate are taken care of as well.  He would have power over the estate.  How that relates to you specifically will depend, in part, how you and your wife's assets are held.  If they are held jointly with rights of survivorship then he has no control over them.  You are also a Community Property state so you have some additional protections.  And you will always have a "right of election" if your state permits same - as against a Will if you are not left what is required by law for a spouse.  I would suggest taking the Will to an attorney in your area to review.  Good luck.


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