A lawyer would have to read the will and have a firm grip on all the facts. Usually a life estate (to the wife) is part of the "package". Usually there are rights to encumber the property to maintain or improve them. Since propbate will probably be required to transfer the properties, you could seek authorization from the probate court. I am in Brentwood. email@example.com
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Sounds like a testamentary trust. If so, then the trustee's powers must be delineated in the document. Your friend needs to retain counsel to see what the will/trust says the trustee can do to preserve the value of the assets.
Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Missouri only, and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to Missouri. This answer is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation, and is for promotional purposes only. You should never rely on this answer alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship. less
As Attorney Doland pointed out, you have asked us what your friends' rights are under documents that we cannot read and review. The answer is almost certainly there. There is obviously more than enough money involved to do this right and to check with a probate expert. They need an attorney to review this and let them know their options.
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