When you agreed to execute your friend’s estate, you probably never thought the role would involve selling some of the estate’s assets. Yet this may be necessary.
There are two reasons to sell an estate’s assets
Executing an estate is not always straightforward. Here are two reasons you may need to put some of the assets up for sale:
- Creditor debt: If your friend died owing money, one of your responsibilities is to deal with those he owed money to. You need to notify them of the death to give them time to claim. You must settle the debts before you can distribute the estate. Anything your friend did not protect through a trust or other estate planning tool may be fair game.
- The will stipulates it: Some people decide the most straightforward way of distributing their estate is to sell their assets and divide the profits between their beneficiaries. It avoids having to estimate how much each asset will be worth at the time of your death. It reduces the chance of people squabbling over whom you left the most valuable asset.
As executor of the estate, your responsibility is to do what is best for the estate. If you need to sell a property and the housing market has crashed, you might consider it is better to delay the sale. Alternatively, you may be unsure which assets to sell.
Such decisions can be complicated, especially when there are multiple beneficiaries involved. Some might want their money as soon as possible. Others may prefer you hang on until the property rises in value. They may even argue over which assets you should sell. Do not try to execute an estate alone. Carrying out your role in the correct legal manner is vital. Otherwise, you could leave yourself open to legal challenges.