Sole discretion

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Sole discretion

My mother’s names me as her executor. It reads that her house should be sold
at fair market value in my sole discretion and the proceeds equally divided
among myself and my children. What does that mean exactly? Can the home
remain in the family?

Asked on September 23, 2019 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the will directs that the home must or shall be sold--i.e. uses imperative or mandatory language--it must be sold. But if you have sole discretion over what is fair market value, you can determine what you belive the fair market value is (your determination must have some support, however, since it is "fair market value"--i.e. you have to reference the market, such as comps) and can within reasonable parameters set the price without input from any heirs or beneficiaries or other persons.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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