This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
While some courts use language which seems to admit of a considerably greater power of executors to bind the estate than the preceding authorities recognize,1 the cases where the contract of the executor is of any force against the estate may be reduced to two classes. First, he may contract, as far as the statute gives him power to contract expressly or impliedly.2 He may compromise claims;3 he may bind the estate by a consent judgment on a just claim ;4 he may extend the time for paying off a mortgage ;5 he may ratify an indorsement made for decedent by his wife where the proceeds were part of the estate before the death of decedent;6 and as the estate is liable for breach of a contract made by decedent,7 he may complete a contract for the erection of a building and thereby incur expenses.8 So, by statutory provision, he may employ an attorney to defend the will in contest,9 or may without10 or with leave of court11 employ an attorney; he may on order of court borrow money on mortgage to pay debts and legacies ;12 or may take a note and mortgage on realty sold by him.13 In view of his general power to sell personalty of the estate, he may pledge personalty for a loan advanced by one who, in good faith, believes that the loan is obtained for the benefit of the estate.14 In short, wherever his promise is co-extensive with his liability in his official capacity, his promise is enforceable against the estate.15
20 Shives v. Johnson (Ky.), 38 S. W. 694.
21 Wilson v. Stevens, 129 Ala. 630; 87 Am. St. Rep. 86; 29 So. 678.
1 Mackie v. Howland, 3 App. D. C. 461; Scott v. Meadows, 16 Lea (Tenn.) 290; Jack v. Cassin, 9 Tex. Civ. App. 228; 28 S. W. 832; Williams v. Howard, 10 Tex. Civ. App. 527; 31 S. W. 835.
2 Wilburn v. McCalley, 63 Ala. 436; Brown v. Eggleston, 53 Conn. 110; 2 Atl. 321; Brown v. Farn-ham, 55 Minn. 27; 56 N. W. 352; Price v. McIver, 25 Tex. 769; 78 Am. Dec. 558. 98
3 Mulville v. Ins. Co., 19 Mont. 95; 47 Pac. 650.
4 Shelden v. Warner, 59 Mich. 444; 26 N. W. 667.
5 Campbell v. Linder, 50 S. C. 169; 27 S. E. 648 (though a deed in form).
6 Seaver v. Weston, 163 Mass. 202; 39 N. E. 1013.
7 Parker v. Barlow, 93 Ga. 700; 21 S. E. 213.
8 Bambrick v. Church Association, 53 Mo. App. 225.
9 Fenner v. McCan, 49 La. Ann. 600; 21 So. 768.
10 Baker v. Cauthorn, 23 Ind.