Will my siblings be able to force me to pay rent to my mother’s estate?

My mother died in 2006 and she died without a will. I lived in the home with her and took care of her until she died. I continued to live in the home and now 11 years later it appears that at least 2 of the heirs want to go to probate and will be asking me to pay rent until the house is sold. I have paid the taxes, insurance, and any repairs that have come up in the last 11 years. What are my legal remedies.

Asked on March 19, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If two of the heirs want to go to probate, then the home is not yet owned by whomever will inherit it (the heirs): it still owned by your mother's estate. In that case, the estate, by its personal representative (whomever is appointed by the court to be in charge of and manage the estate until its assets are distributed to the heirs) can require you to pay rent: since the estate owns the property, it can refuse to allow someone to live there rent free (the same way any person can refuse to allow another, even a family member, live rent free) and can require that rent be paid. So if the home is still to go through probate, whether you will have to pay rent will depend on the discretion of whomever becomes the personal representative (executor or adminstrator), who can take those actions he/she feels are best for the estate and the heirs as a whole group, such as by bringing in income through rent.


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