Can an Executor of a Will Purchase the Car in the Estate?

By Grygor Scott

A will designates an executor, or personal representative, to carry out the wishes of the person who made the will. An executor performs a wide range of duties when administering the estate. She is also legally required to meet certain legal standards regarding personal conduct with respect to managing the estate. Whether you are an executor or beneficiary of a will, you may encounter the issue of an executor wanting to purchase a car that is part of the estate.

A will designates an executor, or personal representative, to carry out the wishes of the person who made the will. An executor performs a wide range of duties when administering the estate. She is also legally required to meet certain legal standards regarding personal conduct with respect to managing the estate. Whether you are an executor or beneficiary of a will, you may encounter the issue of an executor wanting to purchase a car that is part of the estate.

Executor Duties

The primary duties of an executor are to preserve and manage an estate’s assets until the executor can distribute the assets according to the terms of the will. An executor gathers the estate’s assets and pays off the estate’s taxes and debts. This duty may require the executor to sell certain property in the estate. The executor also decides whether state law allows the estate to be settled without going through the probate court. The executor determines who inherits specific property or assets under the terms of the will and closes the estate once all of its assets have been distributed.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Fiduciary Duty

State laws impose a fiduciary duty on executors. This means that an executor has a duty to act in the estate’s best interests. In all transactions involving the estate, an executor must perform his duties with honesty, loyalty, fairness, diligence and confidentiality. An executor can never place his self-interest above the interests of the estate. If an executor fails to meet his fiduciary duty by being negligent or engaging in self-serving acts, he may be personally liable for the financial losses the estate incurs.

Purchase of a Car from an Estate

Whether an executor's purchase of a car from the estate is permissible depends on several factors. A purchase may be improper if the terms of the will bequeath the car to a beneficiary or the purchase price is lower than the car’s fair market price. It may also be improper if the executor does not inform beneficiaries of her purchase of the vehicle. However, a purchase may be proper if the will's terms allow the executor to buy the car from the estate or, in some states, the purchase is made at a fair market price.

Potential Obstacles

Statutes in many states limit an executor's ability to buy assets, including a car, from the estate he is administering. These laws typically require an executor to purchase estate assets in a public sale and have approval from either the beneficiaries or a probate court. Family members and other beneficiaries may object to the executor's purchasing a car from the estate. They may challenge the validity of the purchase or price paid. The beneficiaries may even seek to have a court remove the executor for breaching his fiduciary duty. Most purchases of estate assets by the executor will raise concerns of self-dealing and conflict of interest.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Can the Executor of a Will Spend the Money Any Way He Wants?

References

Resources

Related articles

What Are the Duties of the Executor of a Last Will & Testament?

An executor is the individual who oversees and settles the estate of a deceased person. The will of the deceased person names the executor, who may be an heir, family member, attorney or any other person selected by the deceased person. The executor is granted legal authority during probate, the legal proceeding used to validate a will.

What Is the Meaning of "Executor of an Estate"?

An executor is a person who manages the estate of the deceased, known as the decedent. Also called a personal representative, the executor is typically named in a will. A judge chooses and appoints an estate administrator if a decedent dies intestate, or without a will, or does not name an executor in his will. An estate administrator basically has duties and powers equivalent to an executor. Each state has individual laws regarding estates and executorships.

Will and Probate Requirements in Kentucky

When a person dies in Kentucky, most of the property in his estate passes through the state's probate process. During probate, the executor -- the person named in the deceased's will to administer the estate -- collects the assets and dgtermines their value. The deceased's will must be authenticated before the property is distributed to the beneficiaries as instructed in the will. Certain assets, including property owned jointly, life insurance policies and any property in trust, can avoid probate and will pass automatically to the named beneficiaries.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Responsibilities of a Will Executor in Massachusetts

Under the General Laws of Massachusetts, a will is submitted to probate court once someone has died. If the will names ...

What Can I Do if the Executor of the Estate Doesn't Pay Me as an Heir?

You are due an inheritance, but you have a problem with the way the executor is doing his job. Depending on the estate ...

What Happens When the Executor of the Will Steals the Money?

Estate beneficiaries must move quickly if the estate executor is stealing. State laws set a window during which heirs ...

What Is the Executor's Responsibility in Regards to Burial Expenses?

Executors, sometimes called personal representatives, are appointed by probate courts to administer the estates of a ...

Browse by category