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Friday, April 2, 2021

What if the will gives away an asset that is subject to an agreement for sale?

In my work this week, a situation arose that I thought would be interesting for many of you executors out there. 

A man passed away, leaving a valid will. In his will, he left a vehicle to his nephew. However, at the time the man died, he had agreed to sell the car to a neighbour. The sale to the neighbour was in writing but the car was still parked in the deceased man's driveway and the money hadn't yet changed hands. The executor of the estate asked me who is supposed to get the car.

The sale agreement is valid and the executor is legally bound to complete it. The executor must step into the place of the deceased man and carry out the deal to sell the car to the neighbour. This is true of other assets as well; anything subject to a valid agreement for sale would be in the same situation.

This means that the nephew does not get the car. Nor does he get the money from the sale of the car unless the will specifically states that he does. The will can only distribute what is legally in the deceased's estate, and according to law, that car was no longer in the estate.

1 comment:

  1. We don't know all the details, but it appears, according to the Law? that there was unfinished business, an agreement that had not been fulfilled. This would be much the same as unpaid bills are to be paid from the Estate.
    I am curious as to why money had not exchanged hands? Why the car is still in the owners driveway. Timeline?


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