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An Executor Is Powerful but Must Follow the Law

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Couple planning

Family members may have grievances with each other, but an executor can't just even things out.

An executor does not have the authority to make things even between family members, unless it is strictly within the law, according to the Napa Valley Register in "Can mom make son pay debt?"

The article was about an executor who was the child of the deceased and charged with distributing equal shares.

However, one of the siblings had borrowed money from the deceased over the years and never paid any of it back. Unless there is documentation of the loans, there is little chance the executor can take that information into consideration.

There are several problems with what the executor might want to do.

Among them is that loans to children are often more gifts than they are loans. The mother may have “loaned” the money to the sibling, knowing that it would never be paid back. That makes it a gift.

If the loans are undocumented, there is no way to prove they happened short of a court battle. If they were considered loans and not gifts, they could be well outside the statute of limitations.

It can be tempting for executors to want to redress past wrongs. However, they should be careful before doing so.

An estate planning attorney can advise an executor on their powers.

Reference: Napa Valley Register (Oct. 26, 2017) "Can mom make son pay debt?"

About the Author

Nina Whitehurst

Attorney at Law Nina has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law She is currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. Her Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating is the highest achievable: 5 stars in peer...

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