Does an executor have to right to eject a beneficiary from an estate house?

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Does an executor have to right to eject a beneficiary from an estate house?

I’ve lived with my mother who passed away last November my sister is executor of the estate and is trying to have me ejected from property. I have offered to buy her out and she refuses my offer. I have an emotional attachment to this house. She has not lived here for about 35 years. My brother and I would like to buy her third but she insists on putting house up for auction. She and I do not get along, so it is more of an act of revenge on her behalf.

Asked on August 25, 2019 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can. When there are multiple beneficiaries to a single home, none of them have a greater right (regardless of who may have lived there how long; that is irrelevant legally) to the home than any other and the only effective way to "distribute" the home among multiple beneficiaries is to sell it and distribute the proceeds. Staging, marketing, and selling a home is much easier if it is unoccupied and it will typically bring in more money, and well more quickly, if unoccupied. The executor has power over the estate's assets, including any real estate: she manages it for the benefit of the estate and has the same power over it, subject to her duty to the estate, as the owner would have, which includes the right to remove anyone living there who is not currently an owner (and you are not currently an owner) or a rent-paying tenant under a written lease. Therefore, she has the legal power to remove you, even though you are one of three beneficiaries, and removing you to facilitate selling the home and distriburing the proceeds of the sale is fully in keeping with her duty as executor. You may be right about her motives, but those, too, are irrelevant: all that matters is that her action is in keeping with her authority and duty.


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