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NSW Executor Wants to Renovate the House without Beneficiaries' Approval?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Beneficiary_M, 5 July 2015.

  1. Beneficiary_M

    Beneficiary_M Active Member

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    My mother passed away Nov. 2014. She made my elder sister executor of will. All four siblings, i.e. my two sisters, brother and myself are beneficiaries. My sister decided that she wanted to wait until October this year to sell - despite my advice that she may be missing an opportunity to take advantage of the currently excellent market. She is now suggesting that we make improvements to the house before selling, including painting hallway, etc. I do not wish to invest any money in this. My other siblings will no doubt side with the executor. Is she able to spend money on the property without my approval or does the majority rule?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Beneficiary_M,

    The executor has a duty to preserve the assets of the estate, which includes keeping the property in repair. If she intends to make a few upgrades to the property to improve the sale value to the house, then isn't this in your interest anyway? Since the property will sell for a better price?
     
  3. Beneficiary_M

    Beneficiary_M Active Member

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    Yes, you're right - in theory. However, she does not have scruples when it comes to dealing with money. I see this as an opportunity for her to take advantage. Can I ask to see quotes from tradesmen? Also, I think we need a written valuation from an agent stating whether the price would in fact increase. It has to be financially justifiable, doesn't it?
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Beneficiary_M,

    All of the beneficiaries do not have to agree with the decisions of the executor if they are carrying out the wishes of the deceased as set out in the Will. They are able to use their discretion. However it is generally prudent of an executor to obtain advice from a real estate agent as to how much improvements may increase the value of the property and what the fair market value of the property is.

    You can however certainly discuss these matters with your sibling and ask that she provide you with all written accounts relating to the work that is done on the house as she is required to keep records and accounts and keep the beneficiaries fully informed.
     
  5. Beneficiary_M

    Beneficiary_M Active Member

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    Thankyou for your more detailed response.
     
  6. Beneficiary_M

    Beneficiary_M Active Member

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    Further developments regarding the above: I have just discovered that the Executor made an arrangement with one of my siblings to do work on the house. He has presented an invoice for $4000. I asked 3 tradesmen for quotes and they have quoted me around $700. The Executor has decided to pay him anyway. I see this as a conflict of interest. What can I do about this?
     
  7. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Beneficiary_M,

    You can apply to the court for a direction as to how the estate should be administered or alternatively orders removing the executor. However a court will not lightly remove an executor unless there has been serious misconduct, as it presumes that the deceased has made an appropriate choice in selecting them to act on their behalf. I would talk to a solicitor about it if you are concerned. Bear in mind that your legal costs are unlikely to be covered by the estate.
     
  8. Beneficiary_M

    Beneficiary_M Active Member

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    Thanks very much for your response.
     

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