Does the executor have the right to sell or dispose of property without informing the heirs?
It depends! (Now, doesn't that sound like a lawyer!). If the will bequeaths (legalese for give) a particular asset to a specific person the executor may have no right to sell it. Personal Property (art, furniture, etc.) is often directly bequeathed to heirs so in many cases it should not be sold (but again it depends on the will and other documents and even state law). However, if the will simply directs that the executor divide up the estate (or a portion of it) the executor might have every right to sell the property without the consent or even knowledge of the beneficiaries. So, yes, in many cases the executor can do just that. And in many cases it is best for the executor to have authority to manage the estate assets without beneficiary consent, which might never be obtained. All that being said, if you are serving as executor and anticipate a problem you might choose to inform the beneficiaries of what you are doing before you do it. See a probate lawyer in your state, especially if you anticipate a problem.
Subscribe to our email list to receive information on consumer webcasts and blogs, for practical legal information in simple English, delivered to your inbox. For more professional driven information, please visit Shenkman Law to subscribe.