Most Recently Updated Sept. 18, 2017.
From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Sell Estate Property Without Beneficiary Approval.
“My father recently died a resident of Chester County, PA, but he owned a beautiful parcel of land in Susquehanna County, which has a Marcellus Shale gas lease. I as executor found a buyer at a high price, as I am worried that the recent drop in oil prices could reduce the land’s value. My brother refuses to agree to the sale. Can I as executor go forward with the deal anyway?”
As Executor, You Can Sell Estate Property Without Beneficiary Permission.
Having been appointed the executor, you are the estate’s representative. As such, you have the power to gather estate assets. Further, subject to the Will’s terms you have the right to hold them or to sell them. I would have to examine your father’s Will to provide you a definitive answer. But, if the Will doesn’t prohibit the land’s sale you likely have the right to sell.
But, Be Careful!
As the executor, you owe the beneficiaries a fiduciary duty to follow the Will’s terms and act in the beneficiaries’ best interest. The beneficiaries have the right to question your every action. So, if you sell the land, your brother could ask a judge to review the terms. For example, if you sell the land for too little then the judge could order you to make up the difference.
But, your brother cannot hold up a reasonable deal forever. If he refuses to agree to the deal, you are also free to have an experienced Probate Attorney petition the court. You can bring the terms to a judge for approval. This way your brother can voice his concerns but, if the judge agrees to the terms, you can proceed with the sale free of liability.
Can You Sell Estate Property Without Beneficiary Approval? Yes! But Carefully.
In conclusion, I would be happy to talk to you more about the estate. Contact our office for a free consultation if you have further questions.
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Author, Peter Klenk, Esq.