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Executor’s Rights

It is good practice for an estate trustee to provide information and updates to beneficiaries.  However, the executor has the right, and the duty, to administer the estate in a timely fashion.  Beneficiaries have no right to manage the administration, nor to demand that make decisions or be involved in any aspect of the administration of the estate.

Sometimes, a beneficiary may try to control the estate trustee, demand that the estate trustee take (or not take) certain actions, or demand that the estate trustee consult or get approval from the beneficiary before taking any particular actions.  An estate trustee is entitled – and likely must – ignore this bullying behaviour.  These behaviours often come from a sibling or spouse of the deceased who is offended that they are not the estate trustee.

In order for estate trustee to fulfill their duty to administer the estate properly, in the best interests of the beneficiaries, in a timely manner, it is often necessary for the estate trustee to ignore the bullying beneficiary, assert their right (and duty) to administer the estate in their best judgement and move forward.  Certainly, the estate trustee must try to avoid being dragged into activities that unduly delay administration or imperil the estate no matter how angry or exercised a particular beneficiary may be.

A bullying beneficiary often threatens court proceedings, but rarely has any legal basis for such a claim.  The estate trustee should get proper legal advice, and where appropriate, ignore these threats and proceed with timely administration.

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