The executor of my grandmother's will says that she said she wanted to give people specific items. I know this is not true. There is no mention in the will of anything but an even split of everything including the money from the sale of the house. Is this legal?
In a word, probably yes. (Actually two words, if you count the weasel word). To give a completely definite answer would require looking at the will. Some wills have what is called a precatory provision requesting distribution of minor items of little value according to a separate list, at the executor's discretion. E.g., the velvet painting of the pool-playing dogs to Chuckie, who always wanted it, etc. In any event, unless the will specifically calls for the sale of everything and distribution of the proceeds, the executor could be expected to distribute some of the personal property in kind, and if the distributions were roughly equal in value, the distributions could not be readily criticized. If the executor gave your sister all your grandma's jewelry, worth $30K, gave you the aforementioned dog painting, worth $30.00, and then split the house proceeds 50/50, you would have a valid argument. If the executor made the above distributions, but split the house 45/55 in your favor, you would probably (weasel word, again) not. If you do not get a sufficient answer on this site, do consult a lawyer, with a copy of the will in hand.
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The executor is tasked with making the decisions the testator did not make. The executor is granted fairly wide laterality, usually, to interpret the testator's wishes.
The answers provided in this forum by me and transmitted by users of this forum are not to be considered legally binding in any way, nor is there an intent to form an attorney client relationship. If further information is required, seek competent legal counsel.
Indeed. While most people consider a will as directing "who gets what", sometimes, in the case of personal property, so called "tangible property", an executor will get discretion to determine "who gets what" if the potential beneficiaries can't agree. If beneficiaries can't agree, the executor might make the decision.
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