With the heirs living in the residence of an estate in probate, can one heir change the locks not allowing the heir access to residence.

Live in the state of arkansas, mother passed without a will. My sister was
appointed executor. We had a disagreement about her pawning my mothers jewelry.
A few days later she changed the locks and wont allow me access to the residence
where i have lived for years. The police made me leave and said they would
arrest me if i go back. All of my belongings are there, I receive mail there and
my drivers license have that address on them. Is this legal and can she lock me

Asked on June 21, 2017 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the executor can remove a guest--that is anyone who was living in property belonging to the deceased without being a rent-paying tenant--at will. A guest has no right to remain in property or live there; he or she is only there so long as the person with power or control over the property voluntarily lets them stay. That person is now your sister the executor, so she has the same right to make you leave that your mother would have had while she was alive.
However, you can go to court and get a court order letting you in to retrieve your belongings at a minimum. You *may* also be able to get a court order letting you live there again temporarily, because your sister probably should have gotten a court order herself to remove you, as a long-standing guest who had previously been there with permission--that is, she has the right to remove you, but may not have done it the proper way, and it may be possible to get back in temporarily while she goes through a court procedure to lock you out. Go to your county courthouse: the customer service or clerk's office should be able to give you forms and instructions for how to ask for a court order allowing access.

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