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Jack R.
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Category: Estate Law
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Myself, two siblings and two step brothers/sisters (5 total)

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Myself, two siblings and two step brothers/sisters (5 total) inherited 140 acres when my step mother passed away. It was my father and step mothers property. He built the house and all that went on the Ranch. However he passed away sooner than she, so she was left with everything. She had a will made up and requested that all 5 children would have an equal share in the monitory gain in selling the ranch.

A small problems came up in trying to sell the Ranch. Some felt it was worth more, some wanted to sell quick for less $. My step mother picked her daughter as executor of the estate. When we all met to discuss the will and go over step moms wishes etc. it was stated by the executor of the estate that she was merely facilitating and that all decisions regarding the selling, maintenance etc. of the property would be a group decision, that all would have equal say in all matters.

However, recently she is now saying that she has final say in all decisions and that she would appreciate feedback, but she wanted it understood that she had final word in all dealings with the ranch. This is completely in contradiction to what she had initially said and all five of us agreed to. We know where we are at ethically but not sure about legally if push comes to shove.
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The executor is charged with managing the estate and carrying out the final wishes of the deceased. The executor is required to act in a prudent manner in dealing with the estate issues including sale of assets. The executor is not bound to listen to the desires and suggestions of the beneficiaries.One purpose for an executor is to eliminate group decisions by beneficiaries. The executor stands in the shoes of the deceased in dealing with the estate.


The executor is not all powerful. Prior to any sale of assets the executor must typically obtain court approval for the sale. Beneficiaries can challenge the sale which can delay or block a sale for an extended period. In deciding whether to approve a sale or not, the court will not necessarily look for the best price, but it may certainly determine the land must be sold for a commercially reasonable price. If the executor understands a potential obstacle to a quick sale will occur it might stop a quick sale.


Another option is to ask the executor to "partition" the property each share being about 28 acres. Each owner then has to decide what price they are willing to sell for.


It is also possible to petition the court to replace the executor. The court could determine some other non beneficiary party should be the executor.



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This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.

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