Can the executor lay claim to any of any belongings of the deceased before the Will is read?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can the executor lay claim to any of any belongings of the deceased before the Will is read?

My grandfather has just passed away and has left a will. His brother believes he is executor of the will, and if so has plans on just dividing everything up to his children. We are not sure what it says on the Will, but before his death, my grandfather allowed me to borrow his car until mine got fixed. The car is in his name, and the brother is trying to take the title before knowing what the will says. Do I still have

permission to drive the car untill the Will is read or do I have to hand over the car? Also, just not sure how to handle any of this.

Asked on March 6, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The executor can gather the deceased's belongings and take them out of the hands of whomever has them, since part of his role is to collect and protect the assets of the "estate." But he cannot distribute them other than as directed by the will--he cannot substitute his judgment for the will, or ignore the will's instructions.

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