If there is no legal owner after someone passes away, is it legally permissible to remove items from the home?

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If there is no legal owner after someone passes away, is it legally permissible to remove items from the home?

My brother’s roomate passed away and willed everything to my brother. My brother filed to have the Will executed with the court but died before the 10 day waiting period for it to be finalized. My brother did not have a Will. Is there legal concern if we go in and remove items from the house?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

Patricia F. Bushman / Bushman & DuBose, LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are several unanswered questions.  How long after the roomate did your brother pass?  Did the roomate's will have a specific number of days his beneficiary have to survive him?  Does the roommate have any family?  Is there any property that requires a probate (stocks, bank accounts, real property?)  This is a complicated situation and you should talk with an attorney to see what needs to happen.  There is always a legal owner, the problem is figuring out who that owner is.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your losses.  I would not remove any items yet.  What you need to do is to have some one - possibly you - request to be substituted as the executor of the friend's Will then appointed as the administrotr or personal reppresenative of your brother's estate.  This way you have authority to act under these circumstances. Good luck.


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