Can I take ownership of estate property?

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Can I take ownership of estate property?

A family member died 11 years ago and left a house to be split between 2 family members. These were also the 2 executors named in the Will. Neither has acted on the will or executorships since the death, leaving the property in limbo. I have been living in the house now for 6 years. Can I take ownership of the property?

Asked on June 14, 2018 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not. Living in property belonging to others does not give you any right to ownership of that property and cannot override the terms of the will, which left it to the two people you mention. Their delay in taking action also does not give you any right to another's property. If no one has acted on the property, you have presumably been living there without paying rent to anyone--that would be what you get in this case, since even after they do take action, they cannot retroactively require you to pay rent for the time you have been there.


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