Can one force an heir to the house to pay rent? 14 Answers as of September 01, 2015

My grandfather left a will, willing everything including his house to his oldest daughter 50%, his younger daughter 25% and his two adult grandchildren 12.5% each. The younger daughter has lived in the house as her father's full time care-giver for three and a half years until his death late last year. The older daughter lives out of state and was named executor but choose to turn executor rights over to a lawyer.

The lawyer now executor wants charge the younger daughter rent for living in the house until it's future sale. The rent is to be paid to the estate, which she and her children make 50% of. Can we (younger daughter and adult grandchildren) object to this as we are collectively 50% of the estates heirs? It makes no sense to us to force our mother to pay rent to an estate she's herself heir to.

Also are the fees for the lawyer to come from the estate? Even though the will named an executor and an alternate both of which refused and choose to hire a lawyer on their own?

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
If the attorney is the appointed administrator or executor of the estate, he has a fiduciary duty to preserve the assets of the estate and can charge rent to the person living in the home. She is receiving a benefit by living in the home however the estate is also receiving a benefit by having her live there and taking care of the home. Who is paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance and upkeep of the home? You should be able to work something out with the executor that is fair and agreeable to all parties. Regarding attorney fees, typically the attorney who represents the estate is paid from the estate assets. If the will named an executor and an alternate, then any of the other family members who also resided in the same state as the decedent could have requested to be the administrator, even if they were not specifically named. The other beneficiaries are also entitled to hire an attorney on their own to make sure their rights are protected. I hope this helps.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/1/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Yes, as long as the house is in the estate, the estate has the right to charge her rent. The estate is not required to charge rent, if all the heirs oppose charging the rent; it's not necessary. Few executors have the knowledge and expertise to handle an estate without a lawyer. The lawyer's fees are paid by the estate and would be the same regardless of whether the relative is the executor or the lawyer is.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/1/2015
Law Office of T. Phillip Boggess | T. Phillip Boggess
If an attorney is hired, that attorney obviously will need to be paid. If representing the executor/administrator, it is typically paid by the estate. If a beneficiary hired the attorney to protect the beneficiary's interest, then that is up for question depending on the facts and reasons. As for the rent, the person living in the place should be responsible for some rent. The Estate would be responsible for the taxes, upkeep, assessments, etc. But this is technically how it should happen. If everyone agrees to things happening differently and all beneficiaries sign off that they received everything they deserved upon the distribution of the estate, it shouldn't cause any problems. Things could even be adjusted to reflect the benefits received.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/1/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Yes, if there are other heirs, which there are.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/1/2015
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Has the court appointed this lawyer as the executor? If not you and your siblings should file an objection to him being executor. If so, since each entity (younger daughter and adult grandchildren & oldest daughter) are 50% stakeholders, I suggest you file an objection with the court as far as payment of rent is concerned. Explain to the judge what you have said here and see how he rules.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/1/2015
    Wellerstein Law Group, P.C.
    Wellerstein Law Group, P.C. | Elisha Wellerstein
    Th executor has an obligation to ensure that the estate and its assets earn the most money while under his care. So he has the right and obligation to charge the rent. As beneficiaries, you cannot override his decision. The estate is required to pay all expenses associated with the probate of the will. The fees being paid by the estate is correct.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Until the estate is settled and title to the property is turned over to the heirs or is sold and the proceeds are turned over to the heirs, the executor is within his or her rights to require any resident on the property to pay rent. A family member who is executor might ignore this but the attorney is ethically required to obey the law and do his or her best to protect the assets of the estate. It is possible that elder daughter is still the executor of the estate and the attorney is her agent in the matter. If that's the case, elder daughter may be able to direct the attorney to allow younger daughter and her children to remain rent-free until the estate is settled. The cost of the attorney should be paid from from the assets of the grandfather's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If younger daughter is going to continue to live in the house, she should pay rent. The better solution would be for younger daughter to move out of the house it's harder to sell a house that is occupied. The sooner is estate is settled, the better: when the estate is settled, each of the devisees will have their inheritance in hand, and can go buy a house or invest as they want. While the estate remains open, there will be constant friction over who is benefitting most from the estate. Sell the house, divide the proceeds and try to keep your family together. If daughter continues to live there, the estate will be paying property tax, maintenance, insurance why shouldn't the person living there pay rent? If* I* lived there, you'd charge* me* rent. Also, if you don't charge her rent, why should she ever move out? Where is she going to get a deal that good? Either you're unfair to older daughter (who owns half a house but gets no benefit out of it whatsoever) or you're unfair to younger daughter, charging her rent for a house she's one-quarter owner of. Again, sell the house and move on. Normally the personal representative hires a lawyer to represent her. In this case, it sounds like a lawyer is serving as PR and representing himself. The way I understand it, in Oregon that lawyer ought to carefully separate his time into "PR time" (ordinary functions like listing a house for sale, handling investments) and "lawyer time," preparing and filing probate documents with the court. All of this will come out of the estate. Trust me, it's more expensive to go through probate without a lawyer than it is to go through with one.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    The lawyer is correct; rent should be paid. Yes, the executor can and should have a lawyer, whose fee is set by statute and is payable from the estate assets at time of closing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Sorry, she owes the rent.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    In Nevada, rent would need to be paid absent an order to the contrary. Additionally, the estate representative/attorney is to be paid from the estate assets. Such fees are an administrative claim and are the highest priority to be paid.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    The persons living in the house are not the sole heirs. By living in the house they occupants are receiving a benefit that is not going to the other heirs of the estate. There should be a rental agreement and delineation of responsibilities. Who is paying for maintenance, repairs and taxes until the property is sold? What happens if an appliance or the heating system needs repairs? The obligations of the estate and of the occupants should be determined and some kind of rental agreed upon. In addition, the payment of rent will encourage the ultimate sale and release of possession by the occupants. The executor is appointed by the court. The executor can then hire an attorney. If a lawyer is nominated to be the executor by one of the heirs, that nomination can be taken into consideration by the court in making the appointment of the executor. Such a nomination can also be subject to objection and a competing appointment nomination by another heir. If the executors nominated in the decedent's Will refuse the appointment, then the Court will look to the heirs for a candidate to act as representative and the heirs can nominate their preferred candidate. The Court appoints the representative at a hearing for that purpose. Typically, an executor can receive a reasonable fee unless the Will specifically states that no fee is to be paid. The lawyer hired by an executor is also entitled to a reasonable fee for services rendered
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The executor of the estate has a duty to protect the value of the assets of the estate, charge for the rent value of the residence, the average monthly rent for the area, even if you are one of the heirs; you should have a rent contract with the executor of the estate, determine the amount of the rent and pay the same; otherwise the executor can bring an unlawful detainer action and have you put out of the premises, even if you are an heir.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2015
    Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
    If all of the beneficiaries agree that no rent should be paid, then the estate will not likely press the issue, but there's no guarantee.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/1/2015
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