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Beneficiary may also be the executor of a will

Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Richard M. Alderman
Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. Can I name my husband as executor of my will if he also is going to be the beneficiary?
A. Almost anyone may serve as the executor of a will, including a beneficiary. Basically, the only people who may not serve as executors are minors, incompetents, convicted felons, or others a court finds unsuitable.
Q. My brother and I inherited our family home after my Mom died in 2016. He wants to sell the house to retire, but I do not. I would rather have the monthly rent that we both get. He wants to take me to court to FORCE me to sell the house. Can he legally do this?
A. When two people jointly own a house and cannot agree on what to do with the property, either can ask a court to order the sale of the house and divide the proceeds. Because this will be a forced sale, involving attorneys and a legal proceeding, it is likely to produce less money than if you and your brother simply arrange the sale. My suggestion is to try to work this out, but if you brother insists on selling the house consider buying his interest yourself, or take steps to insure you get the highest possible price.
Q. My six year-old daughter was injured on the playground area of our apartment complex by a little girl throwing construction debris at her. The injury required sutures and no one wants to take responsibility. The parent hasn’t offered to help with the medical bills and the complex manager only asked if my daughter fell on the debris.
A. Suing for the acts of children can be difficult. It will depend on the age of the child and whether the parent was properly supervising. I assume this was a young child, under the age of ten. If the child is ten or older, the parent is liable if it was an intentional act of the child. If the child is under 10, a parent is liable only if he or she was negligently supervising the child. If the parent sat by and saw what the child was doing and let the child continue, the parent could be responsible.
The child herself could also be liable if she was old enough to understand someone would get hurt and tried to hurt your daughter, or knew you shouldn’t throw debris and still did. On the other hand, if the children were all just playing, and this was a case of “kids will be kids,” the child probably has no liability. If you think the child or the parent fit these standards of liability and no one will help pay of your bills, you should speak with them and consider filing a claim in justice court.
The apartment complex also may not have any liability. Based on what you say, the only way the apartment would be responsible is if it was negligent in leaving debris around the complex that children could play with and get injured. For example, if a reasonable person would clean up the debris, or place in a secure area, and the management left it near the playground, it could be considered negligent, and responsible for your daughter’s injury. On the other hand, if the debris was place outside of playground in a trash area, the apartment owners would have acted reasonably and there would be no liability. The issue is: did the complex act reasonably with respect to cleaning-up the debris?
Q. How much notice am I entitled to before I am fired? I showed up for work this morning and was told it was my last day. Am I entitled to two week’s notice? This doesn’t seem fair.
A. As a legal matter, you are not entitled to any prior notice. Unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that says otherwise, you may be fired with no prior notice. Your employer may not have treated you fairly, but from a legal standpoint, it had the right to do what it did.


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