What happens if I do not agree with the way the executor wants to distribute the estate? 15 Answers as of February 17, 2012

If an executor changes the distribution of the estate from what was in the will, and I check off on the beneficiary letter that I do not agree, what happens? And if the will specifically states that someone is not left anything, how can the executor just change that?

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CVM Law Group, LLP
CVM Law Group, LLP | Jack S. Johal
An executor cannot change the disposition of the estate. He must follow the deposition as stated in the will. If he changes the deposition of the estate, you need to contact an attorney and file a motion in Court that the executor has breached his fiduciary duty by not following the deposition provided in the will. I would immediately contact the executor and object to his actions and contact the other beneficiaries and tell them to object as well.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/3/2012
Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
If you do not agree, then the matter will be brought before the court for a hearing on the executor's proposal contrary to the will.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/12/2011
Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
If you are a party of interest in the probate administration and believe or fear that the executor is not fulfilling his fiduciary duty properly.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 12/8/2011
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
He can't. Go to Surrogates Court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/7/2011
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
In Nevada, if all the beneficiaries agree in writing to an alternate distribution, the executor, after obtaining approval from the Probate Court, may distribute in accordance with the agreement. If not, then the distribution must be in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 12/7/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Assuming that the estate is being probated formally, in a form involving the court, your disagreement with the proposed disposition makes a hearing necessary. At such a hearing, the Executor(Personal Representative ) will ask the court for its Order allowing distribution in the manner he/she proposes. You have the right to make your objections. The court will decide the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Executors CANNOT ignore wills. If they try to, you get a lawyer, sue the executor and get the executor removed.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C.
    THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C. | Donald B. Lawrence, Jr.
    If you disagree with the handling of the estate by the personal representative (you used the term "executor"), you have the right to file a petition with the Probate Court stating what the proposed actions are and why you object to the actions based on the provisions of the will or any other reason. This could be something that the executor has decided upon or an interpretation of the provisions of the will that you or others disagree with. Generally even if an executor disagrees with a provision in the will, it is still that the obligation of that person to carry out what is written in the will. Before going ahead, it would be appropriate to discuss the executor to make sure that you know what is being planned and that the executor knows of your concerns.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Siegel & Siegel, P.C. | Sharon M. Siegel
    The executor can not change the terms of a will regrdless of his or her personal opinion as to the terms of the will. This is absolute grounds for removal. It is a complete breach of fiduciary duty and regardless of what you signed you can still object. There are many different ways to go about this.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC | Dean D. Stein
    You should file an objection to final Settlement. You should consider hiring an attorney for this, if enough money is involved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    If a probate has been opened, the executor cannot get approval from the court to make that kind of distribution. If there is no probate opened, then there should have been to prevent this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    The executor cannot change the terms of the will. To have it corrected you will need to file a challenge with the Probate Court where the Will is recorded.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    The personal representative, at least in Oregon, cannot change the distribution that is ordered in the will except by agreement of all of the devisees, or after a hearing in some cases. I'm only guessing that the "beneficiary letter" is from the PR's attorney, and they're trying to find out if they have agreement of all the beneficiaries. If you don't agree, first actually do the math and figure out what the proposed change means to you don't throw the estate into litigation over nickels and dimes. Maybe call the PR's lawyer and ask why the different distribution is being proposed. But if it's not what's in the will, and there isn't a good reason, then you have the right to object.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    The executor cannot change what the will says about how to divide property without the consent of all affected parties (or the court if there is good reason). If you disagree and the executor won't change, you should hire a lawyer and let the court know.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    It depends upon what the will states. Many wills leave the specific distributions to the executor's discretion. If that is the case, you will have to show that the proposed distribution is an abuse of that discretion in some way. If you state that you do not agree with the distribution proposed by the executor, in Indiana that would lead to a hearing on whether that proposed distribution is within the executor's discretion and/or proper under the will.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/17/2012
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