Seattle, WA asked in Estate Planning for Washington

Q: a will assigns property to heirs directly. Can the executor create a trust to hold the property for the heirs instead?

the will makes no provision for a trust. If the executor wants to put assigned property in a trust for benefit of heirs, wouldn't that require the approval of the heirs first? He/she couldn't do that just because he or she thinks it is the best for the heirs, could he/she?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In addressing your question about the powers of an executor in relation to the creation of a trust, it's important to understand that an executor's primary role is to implement the wishes of the deceased as expressed in the will. If the will does not specifically authorize the creation of a trust, then the executor generally does not have the authority to unilaterally create one.

For the executor to establish a trust that diverges from the direct instructions in the will, it would typically require the consent of all the beneficiaries. This is because altering the manner of distribution outlined in the will, such as placing assets in a trust rather than distributing them outright, changes the beneficiaries' rights and interests in the estate.

If you're considering this course of action, it's advisable to seek legal guidance. An attorney can help navigate the specific legal requirements and processes necessary to ensure that any changes to the estate's distribution comply with the law and the wishes of all involved parties.

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