Can the executor of my late grandfather’s estates change the lock on me and not let me into the house without an eviction notice?

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Can the executor of my late grandfather’s estates change the lock on me and not let me into the house without an eviction notice?

My grandfather recently passed away and I live at his house along with my father. We are in the process of moving out of the house and the executor of the state came and change the lock and put a no trespassing sign on the door with no eviction notice. Can he do that?

Asked on May 8, 2019 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The police are wrong. While he does have the legal right to remove or exclude you from the property (since he controls it, and neither you nor your father were owners), 1) he has to do so properly and legally, through the courts (by what is traditionally called an action "for ejectment": that is, eviction for nontenants, or people who are not paying rent to live there); and 2) he cannot keep you away from your own belongings. Go to your local county clerk's office and explain what happened; they should give you the correct forms to file to get a court hearing on relatively short notice to get back into the home, at least temporarily, and get your possessions. Traditionally, you would bring claims for unlawful "detainer" (being locked out improperly) and "distraint" (separating you from your belongings), but your state may have different names for these actions.


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