Being the executor of an estate in Massachusetts carries more responsibility than just the authority over the distribution process. The executor effectively ensures that all outstanding debts are paid first with asset distribution then being completed according to the will. Executors do have some authority in this respect, but they are actually fiduciaries responsible to the estate. The issue with executor actions is that a will or executor status assignment can be contested in court, and it often is in Massachusetts. The court will then evaluate the material facts and rule accordingly.
Acting as directed by a will
Executors must perform the tasks associated with the directive and report to the court what has been finalized. Insolvent estates can be difficult, and many times the court will ultimately have the final say when the executor runs out of assets just as when will contests are filed.
The court’s role
Insolvent estates can be difficult even when a will is in place, and many times the court will ultimately have the final say when the executor has limited assets to distribute. Creditors must typically be paid first before any other property can be distributed to potential beneficiaries who also may want to file a challenge claiming the testator was unduly influenced or was not of a sound state of mind at the time of making the will.
It is always best for an estate plan to be crafted in a manner that avoids these potential problems. And the most important aspect of will making is choosing the most reliable and honest individual as the executor in order to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities.