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Do All Executors Have to Agree to Sell Property?

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When a loved one passes away, the responsibility of managing their estate falls to the executors named in the will. If there are multiple executors, they are expected to work together to carry out the deceased’s final wishes.

However, disagreements can arise, particularly when it comes to selling property. So, do all executors have to agree to sell property? The short answer is no. Not all executors have to agree unanimously to sell a property that is part of the deceased’s estate.

In England and Wales, executors can make decisions by majority. This means that if there is an odd number of executors, a sale can proceed with the agreement of the majority, even if one executor disagrees.

For example, let’s say there are three executors named in the will: Sarah, Mark and John. The will states that the deceased’s house should be sold and the proceeds divided equally among the beneficiaries. Sarah and Mark both agree that now is a good time to put the property on the market, as prices are high and there is strong demand in the area. However, John feels that they should wait a year or two, as he believes the value of the property will increase further.

 

In this scenario, Sarah and Mark can proceed with putting the property up for sale, as they form a majority. John’s dissent does not prevent the sale from going ahead, as long as he was given the opportunity to voice his views. It’s important to note that while unanimous agreement is not required, all executors must be kept informed and given the chance to participate in the decision-making process. If an executor is excluded or not consulted, they may have grounds to challenge any decisions made.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when dealing with property sales as an executor:

 

  • The executors have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and follow the instructions in the will.
  • If the will specifies that a property must be sold, the executors are obligated to carry out this wish, even if some beneficiaries object.
  • Executors should obtain a professional valuation of the property to ensure it is sold at a fair market price. Selling a property for significantly less than it is worth could leave the executors open to legal action from beneficiaries.
  • If a grant of probate is needed to sell the property, all executors must apply for this jointly.
  • Once an offer is accepted, all executors will need to sign the contract of sale and transfer documents.

 

In cases where executors simply cannot reach an agreement, even after extensive discussion, it may be necessary to remove an executor or appoint an independent administrator to deal with the sale of the property. However, this is usually seen as a last resort and can be costly and time-consuming.

 
ScenarioOutcome
All executors agree to sell the propertyProperty can be put on the market and sold once the offer is accepted
The majority of executors agree to sell, but one or more disagreeSale can proceed based on majority agreement, as long as all were consulted
Executors cannot reach an agreement after extensive discussionIndependent administrator may need to be appointed, or executor removed by court
 

Resolving disputes between executors or heirs can be challenging, both legally and emotionally. When my father passed away, he named my sister and me as joint executors. We generally had a good relationship, but we had very different views on what to do with his house. I wanted to sell it quickly, as I knew that was his wish, but my sister was dragging her heels, reluctant to let go of our childhood home.

In the end, after many difficult conversations, we reached a compromise. We agreed to put the house on the market, but at a slightly higher asking price than I had originally suggested. This gave my sister some extra time to come to terms with the sale while still respecting our duties as executors. The house sold a few months later, and although it was a stressful time, we were able to maintain our relationship and carry out our father’s wishes.

The role of executor is not an easy one, especially when it comes to selling property. Emotions can run high, and differing opinions can lead to conflict. However, by keeping the lines of communication open, staying focused on the deceased’s instructions, and seeking professional advice when needed, it is possible for executors to go through process and reach an outcome that satisfies all parties.

 
Do All Executors Have to Agree to Sell Property
While executors can't complete the sale without probate, they can take steps to prepare.

Do All Executors Have To Agree To Sell Property?

If you’re an executor dealing with a probate property and seeking a quick, hassle-free sale, reach out to Property Saviour today. We can offer you a fair cash deal and finalise the purchase as soon as the Grant of Probate is obtained, reducing one burden during this challenging time.

Our welcoming team is ready to address any queries you might have and lead you through the process with sensitivity and care.

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