What are an administrator’s rights to evict an occupant of estate property?

My mother passed away 9 months ago. She left her home to my 2 siblings and I and 1 sibling lives there. We agreed to allow him to stay during the probate process if he would maintain the property and pay the taxes. The other sibling is the administrator. The sibling living in the house allowed his daughter, her husband and children to move in without asking. Does the administrator have the right to evict them or will we be required to go through the eviction process in court? His daughter has been evicted several times and knows the process of court very well which is concerning. We are worried this could tie up the sale of the house for a very long time. Would she be considered a squatter or does the fact that he allowed her to move in make her a tenant even though she does not pay rent? Would it make sense to charge her rent or would that give her more rights? Does she even have the right to be there since the administrator and myself did not give our consent?

Asked on October 16, 2017 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since the property has not yet been titled in the sibling's names, then the estate is the legal owner of the house. Accordingly, the adminstirator has the right to pursue an eviction. This means, however that they will need to follow all legal procedures for this. If they fail to do so and attempt to remove the daughter and her children without providing proper notice, etc. then they can be sued for wrongful eviction. Bottom line, if she refuses to voluntarily remove herself and her family, then the adminstrator will need to file in court. Since the daughter does not pay rent then she will be considered a "guest" (not a tenant) since she and her family were invited to stay at the property by a legal occupant (her father). Therefore, the adminsitrator will file for an "ejectment" (which is like an eviction but for a guest).

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