If someone is both Executor and full Benefactor of a will, can they give the inheritance to someone else?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If someone is both Executor and full Benefactor of a will, can they give the inheritance to someone else?

I have a question about my father’s estate that’s both in Rhode Island and

In my father’s will, he named his mother my grandmother both Executor and
Benefactor of the will.

So the will states his mother gets everything of his and she’s Executor.

So my question is, does she have to give herself all of the estate as the will
states, or can she choose to take some of the estate and have me inherit the
rest? Would I have to pay taxes if that’s the case?

I’m not in the will. It’s an old will from his army days, I was a young child
when it was written.

Asked on October 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, she can't go against what the will says, and she can't add other people to inherit under it who are not in the will. Obviously, she can take whatever she inherits and gift it to you, all at once or  over years; or set up a trust for you and put the money, etc. into it; or simply keep it and will it to you when she passes; or any combination of the above. To determine which option(s) might be best for you and her, consult with an accountant.
Old wills are just as enforceable as new wills, by the way, so long as they were not changed, revised, revoked, or replaced by a new will, all of which would have to be done in writing.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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