as the exceutor/partial benefactor of my fathers will am I required to give the other benefactors free access and keys to the property?

they pulled up with a trailer and stated that they were informed by there lawyer that we have to give them full and free access plus a key. If we do not they stated that they will get a locksmith we live in delaware.

Asked on May 15, 2009 under Estate Planning, Delaware


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Very often the home passes not by Will but by operation of law to any surviving joint tenants named on the deed. If that's the case, they do have a right of access to what is their home. If not they have to wait until they get their share of the estate when probate is completed and the executor pays all creditors, taxes, etc. and then distributes the assets as the Will describes.

HOWEVER, the personal property held by the decedent in his name that is in the home does NOT pass by operation of law, but pursuant to the Will or to the heirs at law. But it does not get distributed before the executor says so, and there may be taxes or creditors to pay, competing claims, etc.

One exception. If the household assets were held in a in a living trust, then the trustees distribute the assets regardless of what the Will provides.

If they take anything from the house that belongs to the estate -- even stuff that the Will says they should ultimately get -- BEFORE you as executor distribute it, that would be theft.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.