Can an executor decide to put money willed to someone into a Trust without their permission?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an executor decide to put money willed to someone into a Trust without their permission?

My grandfather died a few months ago and designated his wife, not my biological grandmother (who passed away quite some time ago) as the executor of his estate. In his Will he left a sizable sum of money to my mother. I have heard from one of my grandfather’s wife’s friends that she intends to place my mother’s inheritance into a trust which will only allow my mother to access a certain amount of it at a time and if possible, only with her consent she is quite the control freak. My mother has not consented to this action in any way and to my knowledge nothing is stated in the will saying that this is how it should be carried out. Can she legally do this as the executor of the estate, even without the permission of the beneficiary it affects?

Asked on March 21, 2018 under Estate Planning, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The executor must comply with the provisions in the Will.  The executor cannot alter those provisions.  If the executor alters the provisions in a Will, the executor has breached a fiduciary duty and should be removed.  Your mother should petition the probate court  to have the executor removed for breach of fiduciary duty (altering the provisions of the Will in this case) and have a successor appointed as executor.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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