Can the executor of a will keep a sibling from removing their items from a dead parent's home? 24 Answers as of July 24, 2014

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The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss
The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss | Kimberly Moss
The executor of a will's role is to present the deceased person's (also known as the decedent) will to the probate court in the county where he or she died or owned property. The executor's primary function is to ensure that the decedent's wishes are carried out, and that could potentially include preventing other family members from removing items from that person's home. The exectuor's responsibility is determined by the terms of the decedent's will, so to answer your question, it may be a valid use of the executor's authority to keep a sibling from removing items from the decedent's home. Please consult an estate planning attorney in your area for more information.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/24/2014
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
Once the executor of an estate has been sworn in upon petition and probate of the will they have the obligation to collect the assets of the decedent 's estate for administration. This consists of the payment of debts of the decedent, the payment of inheritance taxes, the payment of filing fees and costs of administration and the distribution of the net assets according to the terms of the decedent's will, if possible. While the executor is only to collect the assets of the decedent, sometimes there can arise a conflict where, as here, a person other than the decedent claims that particular items belong to the them instead of the decedent. If the executor agrees that the items belong to you, they cannot withhold them because you have a right to remove them from the house. If there is a dispute as to the ownership of the items, you can file a claim with the probate court asking it to prohibit the distribution of the asset as part of the administration of the estate.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 6/26/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Yes if there is a dispute as to who owns the property being taken.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/26/2014
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
Generally the only way that the executor should do that is if there is some question about who owns the items. The estate or the sibling.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/26/2014
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
Possibly. Can the sibling prove ownership? If so, the executor may allow supervised access to remove those items. If not, then the sibling may need to petition the court to authorize the same. Best of luck to you. This response does not establish an attorney client relationship. It is merely a response to a hypothetical question with limited facts. Other facts may change the answer. If unsure, seek legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/25/2014
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Certainly, but only if the executor has been appointed by the probate court. Just because Mom's will says "Johnny will be my executor", it doesn't automatically make you the executor, you have to file the paperwork and be appointed by the court. Once an executor is appointed, the executor becomes the custodian of all property of the deceased and the executor has both the right and the duty to secure the property, if this means changing the locks, change the locks, if this means moving the items to a storage unit, move them to the unit.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It depends. If there is no disagreement of the owner of the property, the personal property may be moved. However, if its personal property of the deceased the executor has the right to prevent its removal.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The answer is probably yes, but I need you to define the terms "their items." Do you mean the sibling's property? Do you mean the PR's property? Do you mean the assets of the estate? The personal representative is in charge of the assets of the estate. The PR would also be able to prevent conversion of her own property. If the sibling has assets in the home, the PR would have no authority over such items.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Their meaning whom? Sibling should be able to retrieve items owned by that sibling. Otherwise, the executor has the duty to protect all estate assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Yes, if it has not yet been determined who actually owns the item 100%.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Office of Melissa Botting | Melissa Botting
    Yes, at least until proper distribution. The executor of the will is obligated to inventory the items that belonged to the deceased. That cannot be accomplished if the property is removed. However, even the proposed executor cannot gather the assets of the estate until after the court proceeding naming the executor. Frequently, an executor must demand the return of assets that were removed during the time between the death and the court proceeding officially naming the executor.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The executor has a fiduciary duty to inventory and protect all of the possessions of the deceased. If other persons' possessions are intermingled, the executor must determine which items belong to the estate and which to someone else. A person who wants to retrieve his or her own possessions should contact the executor, provide a list of those possessions - and some proof of ownership, if possible, and ask for a date when they both can enter the property, locate the items, and remove them.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Home Town Law, P.A.
    Home Town Law, P.A. | Sabina Tomshinsky
    It depends on many factors including but not limited to the current state of the estate administration, etc. Your inquiry is too general for a response. If you question actions of the personal representative, you should consult with an attorney to represent your interests as a beneficiary of the estate, if you are in fact a beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Once an executor is appointed as the representative of the estate by the court, the executor has the duty to protect and preserve the assets of the estate. The executor must collect the assets of the estate in existence at the time of death and distribute them in accordance with the Will. The executor can use the authority of the court in support of the rightful exercise of his duties.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Technically if they have been APPOINTED by the court, they can deny access to the estate home. If they have not been appointed, they have no control of the home or the property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    If you are referring to items owned by the sibling that were in the parent's home, then the answer is no. The executor is only in charge of the decedent's property. But if you are talking about property left to the sibling by the parent, then the executor was right to retain those items until the probate court releases them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If by "their items" you mean things that belong to the sibling, no. The personal representative (you said "executor:" are you in Oregon?) has control of all property that belongs to the decedent.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If the personal representative (as they are called in Florida) has been appointed by the courts, then the PR has full control over the testator?s (person that wrote the will) assets. If there are items that belong to someone else and those items were in the deceased person's possession, the PR would have to grant permission for the owner to remove them from the property.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    The Law Firm of Meyer & Colegrove, PLLC
    The Law Firm of Meyer & Colegrove, PLLC | Milton W. Colegrove Jr.
    Yes, the personal property is owned by the estate and thus controlled by the executor. However, the executor first needs to be appointed to act as executor by the probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Thomas SanFilippo & Associates, LLC | Thomas SanFilippo
    Yes. Technically, that could constitute theft... particularly if the items were not specifically bequeathed SPECIFICALLY to them.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
    Yes. The items belong to the estate of the deceased not the sibling - at least not until after the will is probated and the assets are distributed according to the terms of the will. A court order can be obtained if necessary.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    No, unless the executor cannot or needs to identify the items that are specifically belonging to the child or parent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    Whose items are "their" items? In Maryland, one should be able to recover one's own property, but the personal representative is responsible for protecting the estate's property so an unauthorized person may be restricted access to estate property.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Yes. The executor's responsibility is to safeguard the estate. This includes preparing an estate inventory. That process allows the executor to determine whether any possessions in the decedent's home belongs to someone else. Generally, in stable families this process is respected and creates no problems. For more information, consult with an attorney who specializes in estate administration.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/25/2014
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