will beneficiary

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patbhoy | 20:55 Wed 27th Jun 2007 | Law
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Can the executor of a will in Scotland sell the deceased house without notifying and getting permission from a beneficiary of the will?


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Once the executor has received 'confirmation' from the Sheriff's Court, and paid any debts left by the deceased person, he/she is obliged to contact those people who have 'legal rights' (such as the spouse or children of the deceased person) to enquire whether they wish to claim or renounce those rights.

However, such rights only exist against the deceased person's 'moveable estate' (which excludes land or buildings). Until those with legal rights have notified the executor whether they wish to claim or renounce, the executor will not be able to distribute the moveable estate.

The house of the deceased person falls under 'heritable estate'. There are no 'legal rights' in respect of such estate so, as soon as the executor has 'confirmation', he/she can carry out the instructions of the will. If, as is common, the will says something along the lines of "I desire that my heritable estate be sold and the proceeds of such sale distributed as follows . . ", the executor is free to sell the house, without authorisation from any beneficiary of the will. (Indeed, there is no requirement, until the proceeds of the sale are available for distribution, for the executor to have any contact with the beneficiaries at all, except in relation to 'legal rights' against moveable estate).


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