Living rent free in someone else's home

lanejudy

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Oct 27, 2011
I should have made it clear that my parents have both passed away, my mom about a month ago.

My dad named my oldest sister executor
It sounds like Dad passed away first and your MOM was the most recent to pass? DAD's will doesn't necessarily impact the current situation, depending on how it was written...I'm presuming his will was written to leave everything to a surviving spouse. In which case did MOM have a will? It is NOT Dad's will; wills are not written as a couple, they are individual documents for each person.

I agree you need a lawyer NOW (like yesterday) to get involved, even if it simply clears up the lack of communication. I am so sorry you have to deal with this; it is no fun and likely to drag out.


I'm responding to your comment that things have to be split equally. Possessions often can't be split equally anyhow because there's not equal of them.
Possessions are part of the estate, whether financial or household items; the whole estate goes through probate if there is no will, with expectation that they be split equitably. That doesn't necessarily mean 3 beds = everybody gets 1, 6 lamps = everybody gets 2; nothing divides up that evenly. Hopefully the heirs can agree so-and-so gets the tools, another can have the dining room hutch, etc. simply based on who wants what and they are agreeable. In situations where siblings can't reach agreement...all possessions may need to be sold and the cash value split. It is still officially probate of the estate absent any designation in a will indicating who gets what.
 
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Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Possessions are part of the estate, whether financial or household items; the whole estate goes through probate if there is no will, with expectation that they be split equitably. That doesn't necessarily mean 3 beds = everybody gets 1, 6 lamps = everybody gets 2; nothing divides up that evenly. Hopefully the heirs can agree so-and-so gets the tools, another can have the dining room hutch, etc. simply based on who wants what and they are agreeable. In situations where siblings can't reach agreement...all possessions may need to be sold and the value split. It is still officially probate of the estate absent any designation in a will indicating who gets what.
I agree with you which is why I disagreed with the PP. Equally is not equitably and that def. matters when discussing the rights of the OP. Money is usually equally (and would come into play with the sale of the items as well as I already mentioned and never disputed), but possessions are not normally able to be split equally.

The OP may want the 2 beds and some furniture but that doesn't mean she's going to get it in the name of being equal. It for random example's sake 1 bed goes to X the other bed goes to the OP or no one can agree on it so they say we're setting that aside to be sold. What determines equitable is what each situation is dependent upon with an intrinsic value agreed upon. Some people only want xyz and others want close to a-z. Some give value based on abc, others differently. The sisters could be like "fine take the beds and those furniture" and that's that if that is all the OP wants.

Aside from the agreement with the house my estranged aunt had 2 big things to her, ice skates and photo albums, everything else was not important to her so when distributing and assigning things those things were accounted for for her.

The reason I commented was it was said "If there is no will then his/her estate goes to probate as the estate: the house and ALL possessions are split equally among ALL the children." There isn't a law (to my knowledge) that says equally and in reality that is rarely what happens and this thread was in the original discussion about gaining those beds and some furniture not about the sale of the house, the contents inside it and whether the OP was then entitled to an equal share of the profits from the sale of those.

It's usually the hardest thing to do dividing up the actual physical items based on wants, needs, desires.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
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Oct 23, 2015
Yes, there is a difference. But I think you're splitting hairs. If the heirs can't agree on an "equitable" distribution, all possessions will be sold and the proceeds divided equally. Which is what the PP was getting at with the statement about house and possessions going through probate.
I don't disagree about splitting hairs it was more about information for the OP who seems to be out of the loop on the going-ons at the property and what the sister can and can't do as her role as executor. Normally people don't have such a big time crunch with someone threatening with a dumpster and to come get the stuff now or else it will be thrown away. It's a fine line to walk between getting possessions now under duress without the discussions with those entitled to them all together.
 

stitch'sgirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
I don't disagree about splitting hairs it was more about information for the OP who seems to be out of the loop on the going-ons at the property and what the sister can and can't do as her role as executor. Normally people don't have such a big time crunch with someone threatening with a dumpster and to come get the stuff now or else it will be thrown away. It's a fine line to walk between getting possessions now under duress without the discussions with those entitled to them all together.
Very very true. A couple of the things that I want are for instance a deck of cards, a Sharpie, a cookbook, a popcorn maker; all very sentimental to me. My brother thinks things like that of no monetary value have been disposed of already.
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
I should have made it clear that my parents have both passed away, my mom about a month ago. I am so grateful for my brother who is holding it together for me!

First, I'm sorry for your recent loss. :hug:

My dad named my oldest sister executor and she believes that gave her all the power. My dad told me before he passed away that she had no idea what the function of an executor was and that she was a "tyrant". My other sister has just sided with her, I really don't know why.

It sounds like Dad passed away first and your MOM was the most recent to pass? DAD's will doesn't necessarily impact the current situation, depending on how it was written...I'm presuming his will was written to leave everything to a surviving spouse. In which case did MOM have a will? It is NOT Dad's will; wills are not written as a couple, they are individual documents for each person.

THIS exactly! 🔼 I was scrolling though hoping someone else said this by the time I came back.

Just because a sister was executor once, doesn't mean she was named executor for your mom's estate, even if your Dad had willed everything to your mom. Executorship (or whatever the proper word is,) doesn't carry over. Our family went through the same thing.

If your mom made a will, it is possible that YOU have been named executor. Or your brother. It could also be why your sister is trying to toss everything now before either of you get a hold of the will and stop her. It will be harder to get back what they took, and to make any sort of inventory once she's tossed or stolen everything of value. Since she was made executor once, she has to know some of the laws to have carried out your father's wishes, even if it all was an easy transfer of the estate to your mother. There are certain forms to fill out. The process takes time. Time she might not want to give you and your brother if she and the other sister are robbing the house.

Oh boy. My sister said I need to get what I want out TONIGHT. Thank you for the warning.

She can't tell you what to do and start throwing out stuff. You are now armed with some knowledge of the laws, something she probably wasn't expecting.

Until all of you see a will or find out there is none (and the estate goes to probate) NONE of you can really touch or toss items. ALL of you have to wait to see what the will says and who is executor. That person then must, follow the law and officially inventory and document all the items named in the will, then show with proof (that a court would accept, if there is a later dispute) that they were later distributed to the appropriate parties. SHE can't self-appoint herself as executor in the meantime.

When she starts ranting about throwing out stuff, you and your brother have to say, "We haven't seen a will or lack of one. We need to find out who the executor is. You have no rights to start tossing or removing items until we know what is in the will. If you do, we will call the police to stop you."

If she claims there is no will, then you say, "You had better hope there is, because if Mom's estate goes to probate, this will all take much longer to sort out." That may make her cough up the knowledge of a will.

Then DO call the police if you need to, if she hires a dumpster and starts tossing. Usually the police will really do nothing. :rolleyes: They will say it's all a civil matter. However, they will likely warn her and the other sister that they DO have to wait for a will to be found, or wait to go to probate and everything to be inventoried. You will get a record/report/file that you had to have the police come. (Make sure you get the officer's name and log the time he came to the home, and what police precinct/station he will be filing the report of him coming out. He's supposed to file a report that he was called to the house and what the reason was. A copy of the file can later be be gotten from the police station.)

IF this all goes to probate later, or if it turns out, she is named executor but is doing underhanded things and not following the law, you may need it to show your sister(s) were behaving in an underhanded manner, stealing or tossing parts of the estate.

Even though the police will do nothing other then showing up and speaking to the sister(s), it will likely stop things from being tossed. Which is what you want. (Them later stealthily removing items is another matter.)

(Don't ask how I know all of this. :rolleyes1 :sad2: :mad: )
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Very very true. A couple of the things that I want are for instance a deck of cards, a Sharpie, a cookbook, a popcorn maker; all very sentimental to me. My brother thinks things like that of no monetary value have been disposed of already.
Oh no! Gosh that would be incredibly sad :sad1:
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Yes, there is a difference. But I think you're splitting hairs. If the heirs can't agree on an "equitable" distribution, all possessions will be sold and the proceeds divided equally. Which is what the PP was getting at with the statement about house and possessions going through probate.


YES! Exactly. I'm not a lawyer, so I didn't know the exact WORD. I'm glad you DO know the principle I was talking about. The laws are created for when heirs CAN'T agree. Once the OP knows the laws then she can decide what she will and will not do.
 
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Needsanap

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 13, 2017
It sounds like Dad passed away first and your MOM was the most recent to pass? DAD's will doesn't necessarily impact the current situation, depending on how it was written...I'm presuming his will was written to leave everything to a surviving spouse. In which case did MOM have a will? It is NOT Dad's will; wills are not written as a couple, they are individual documents for each person.

I agree you need a lawyer NOW (like yesterday) to get involved, even if it simply clears up the lack of communication. I am so sorry you have to deal with this; it is no fun and likely to drag out.
Completely agree with this. Your father and your mother’s will (if she had one) need to be filed with probate. You can not just “execute” a will. There are proper legal procedures to follow.

Also an inventory should be taken. This should also be submitted.
 

lanejudy

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Oct 27, 2011
A couple of the things that I want are for instance a deck of cards, a Sharpie, a cookbook, a popcorn maker; all very sentimental to me. My brother thinks things like that of no monetary value have been disposed of already.
Unfortunately, your brother may be right if your parents vacated the home 2 years ago. It sounds like at least part of that time your nephew has lived there. But he likely had no need for inconsequential items and they could be long gone. I hope for your sake that he simply ignored most of that. :hug:

Just curious, but who had maintained the house and property since your parents moved out? Even if vacant there would have been tax bills, and probably even minimal utility bills unless the utilities were all turned off. Lawn mowing, etc.
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
I know I mentioned this on another thread but I was the only one with my mom for the 2 days before she passed. It was such an honor and something those sisters will never be able to take from me.

Again, sorry for your loss. But, you can actually use this to say to your sisters that your mom verbally gave you stuff that's in the house, that you want to retrieve before they are tossed. They would certainly say that to you, and probably will if the $22,000 check was questioned. There is no legal claim to anything you say she verbally said unless you have a witness that she actually said that. Yet, saying that is just to stop them from removing & tossing more items like the Sharpie & cookbook. Again, just say, "I want to wait and see if it's mentioned in the will."

If she did indeed make a will, and with a reasonably good lawyer, there is usually a line which says, "Anything else not named in this will goes to _____." This line is to tie up any loose ends that may later come up. THAT person gets the property. If that person happens to be you, you have a RIGHT to the deck of cards, a Sharpie, a cookbook, a popcorn maker.

SirDuff is right about not removing/tossing stuff before a will or probate is known.
 
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Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Just curious, but who had maintained the house and property since your parents moved out? Even if vacant there would have been tax bills, and probably even minimal utility bills unless the utilities were all turned off. Lawn mowing, etc.

Was just about to ask this question. WHO is paying for the utilities now that the nephew & others are there? All utilities should have been turned off right after your mom died. If they weren't they need to be right now. And someone new starts their own utilities accounts. (That doesn't make them owner, nor gives them more rights to the house going forward.)

I bet your sister thinks last month's bills will just be later tacked onto your mom's estate assets and be taken out of that.
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Unfortunately, your brother may be right if your parents vacated the home 2 years ago. It sounds like at least part of that time your nephew has lived there. But he likely had no need for inconsequential items and they could be long gone. I hope for your sake that he simply ignored most of that. :hug:

I'm hoping they were just tossed willy-nilly in a box or bag and put in a room not being used and the OP will be able to find the stuff. 🤞
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Was just about to ask this question. WHO is paying for the utilities now that the nephew & others are there? All utilities should have been turned off right after your mom died. If they weren't they need to be right now. And someone new starts their own utilities accounts. (That doesn't make them owner, nor gives them more rights to the house going forward.)

I bet your sister thinks last month's bills will just be later tacked onto your mom's estate assets and be taken out of that.
Well, I suspect the mom's estate is responsible for all bills related to the house until the estate is settled no matter who, if anyone is living there.
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
I don’t think you turn off utilities when someone dies.

:confused: People are usually charged monthly for utilities whether they are used or not. (This may be different depending on where one lives.) Technically, no one is supposed to be living there after the owner has died. Unless someone is already living there. In this case the nephew. So he or his mother should agree to take over the account - putting the responsibility of payment in their name.) So, yes, the utilities are supposed to be turned off, or in this case transferred.

If you mean so people can go in and deal with the estate, then the payment of utilities would be taken out of the estate's assets - which ultimately affect the OP, 1 sister and brother. In the OP's case, other people are living there and using more utilities than just the handling of the estate.
 

stitch'sgirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
First, I'm sorry for your recent loss. :hug:





THIS exactly! 🔼 I was scrolling though hoping someone else said this by the time I came back.

Just because a sister was executor once, doesn't mean she was named executor for your mom's estate, even if your Dad had willed everything to your mom. Executorship (or whatever the proper word is,) doesn't carry over. Our family went through the same thing.

If your mom made a will, it is possible that YOU have been named executor. Or your brother. It could also be why your sister is trying to toss everything now before either of you get a hold of the will and stop her. It will be harder to get back what they took, and to make any sort of inventory once she's tossed or stolen everything of value. Since she was made executor once, she has to know some of the laws to have carried out your father's wishes, even if it all was an easy transfer of the estate to your mother. There are certain forms to fill out. The process takes time. Time she might not want to give you and your brother if she and the other sister are robbing the house.



She can't tell you what to do and start throwing out stuff. You are now armed with some knowledge of the laws, something she probably wasn't expecting.

Until all of you see a will or find out there is none (and the estate goes to probate) NONE of you can really touch or toss items. ALL of you have to wait to see what the will says and who is executor. That person then must, follow the law and officially inventory and document all the items named in the will, then show with proof (that a court would accept, if there is a later dispute) that they were later distributed to the appropriate parties. SHE can't self-appoint herself as executor in the meantime.

When she starts ranting about throwing out stuff, you and your brother have to say, "We haven't seen a will or lack of one. We need to find out who the executor is. You have no rights to start tossing or removing items until we know what is in the will. If you do, we will call the police to stop you."

If she claims there is no will, then you say, "You had better hope there is, because if Mom's estate goes to probate, this will all take much longer to sort out." That may make her cough up the knowledge of a will.

Then DO call the police if you need to, if she hires a dumpster and starts tossing. Usually the police will really do nothing. :rolleyes: They will say it's all a civil matter. However, they will likely warn her and the other sister that they DO have to wait for a will to be found, or wait to go to probate and everything to be inventoried. You will get a record/report/file that you had to have the police come. (Make sure you get the officer's name and log the time he came to the home, and what police precinct/station he will be filing the report of him coming out. He's supposed to file a report that he was called to the house and what the reason was. A copy of the file can later be be gotten from the police station.)

IF this all goes to probate later, or if it turns out, she is named executor but is doing underhanded things and not following the law, you may need it to show your sister(s) were behaving in an underhanded manner, stealing or tossing parts of the estate.

Even though the police will do nothing other then showing up and speaking to the sister(s), it will likely stop things from being tossed. Which is what you want. (Them later stealthily removing items is another matter.)

(Don't ask how I know all of this. :rolleyes1 :sad2: :mad: )
WOW! This is so interesting!!! I am here at the house now with my brother and letting him know all of this.
 

OneOftheB's

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2015
I haven't had the chance to read all of the responses, but having been an executor of my cousin's will and the heir for my parents and grandparents, my best advice is hire an attorney immediately. The executor is responsible for posting in the newspaper for any and all creditors to come forward within a set amount of time and only at that point can they begin to disperse any assets of the estate. By jumping the gun, your sister is potentially opening you up to be held liable if there are any outstanding debts (medical etc).

I would also talk to the attorney about either being compensated for the property's rental income or evicting any non family members. If one of those kids is injured on the property, or any friends, you could potentially be held liable for damages as an heir.
 



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