Question: My brother is executor of our parents’ estates. Both parents are now deceased. The trust provides that all assets in the trust are to be divided equally. Can he sell property and put the value of the property in the estate pool without my signature or approval?
Answer: Yes. It sounds like your brother is both executor and trustee. As such, he has responsibility for the property in your parents’ estate and trust. Unless the wills or trust impose some restrictions, your brother must decide how to distribute the assets, which he can do either as they are or as cash. This comes up with both real estate and stock and other investment holdings. It often makes sense to liquidate all the holdings and distribute the cash, especially with respect to real estate. Otherwise, the heirs own the real estate together and have to manage it together, which may not be in anyone’s best interest. That said, it would be wise for your brother to consult with all the heirs to make sure his decisions meet their goals and wishes, if possible.