What is an executor’s duty to beneficiaries?

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2013

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What is an executor’s duty to beneficiaries?

My mother died 3 months ago. I have 4 sisters who are the heirs to her estate; 1 sister was appointed executor in my mothe’rs Will. All money has been distributed equally with the exception of a small account that was set up to cover taxes, outstanding debts, etc. My sisters and I have become co-owners of the home. The executor has ceased communication with 2 of us. She has not furnished us with copies of current records of my mother;s bank account, her death certificate and her Will. We have asked for this documentation and received only bank records through 4 months ago. I recently received a certified letter from her stating that the house will be listed for sale effective in about 3weeks. Can she do this without our consent?

Asked on February 6, 2013 under Estate Planning, Colorado


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It depends on the law of your state.  In many states the executor has the ability to sell assets in order to pay the debt of the estate before distribution.  In some states  - like Florida with a homestead provisions - they can not sell the house.  But you are in a position here that will require an attorney to help you. and I suggest you get one soon.  You have a right to a copy of the will and an accounting of the assets and distributions.  You can go and view the Will now as it is a public record.  Good luck.

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