Executor rights are those rights granted to the executor of an estate that enable the executor to carry out his or her duties in transferring assets to either named beneficiaries or heirs if there is an intestate probate proceeding. The rights vary according to jurisdictions, but they often include the right to hire professionals to help settle the estate and the right to sell or buy real estate within the limitations of the regional laws and the decedent’s will. They typically also include the right to open a bank account for the purpose of making transactions on behalf of the estate and the right to run the business of the decedent if there weren’t instructions to liquidate it. The executor also has a right to compensation for his or her work on settling the estate, and the probate court is often willing to grant those requests for payment. The estate usually pays the executor fees prior to any final transfer of assets in probate court.
The executor is an individual or company named in the will. When there is no will, a family member or friend often asks the court for the right to act as an executor. The executor cannot exercise any rights until the judge in probate court legally appoints the executor to handle the estate. Executor rights are limited by regional laws, but the decedent may expand those rights in the will. The relationship between the executor and the decedent often reflects how many rights the executor has. For example, if the executor is a surviving spouse or the decedent trusts the executor, then the executor will have more rights according to the will.
Hiring attorneys, real estate agents, accountants, and other professionals is sometimes necessary if the executor is not experienced or equipped to handle certain aspects of the estate or to sell assets. For example, an executor may hire a realtor to sell the decedent’s home in order to distribute the profits among the heirs. Executor rights often include the ability to hire those professionals at the estate’s expense. The funds may be transferred to a bank account that the executor has a right to open for the purpose of paying the professionals, tax agencies, creditors, and beneficiaries. Any bank fees and charges are often reimbursed to the executor.
If a decedent owns a business and wants to keep it in the family, he or she may grant the executor rights to run the business until it’s transferred to the appropriate heir or beneficiary. The other option is to liquidate the business. The decedent may leave the decision to the executor’s discretion.