Is it legal to keep the spouses of the heirsoff of the premises while distributing the contents of an estate?

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Is it legal to keep the spouses of the heirsoff of the premises while distributing the contents of an estate?

The executor is telling the spouses of the heirs that they cannot be in or on the property while the choosing of the household goods is taking place, also we cannot pack our own things. Missing and incorrect items (jewelry) the person who was to get them is just out of luck if they cannot be found. Do we have to use the movers the estate is providing which are not bonded or insured. If we want to have help moving, the lawyer is stating ours must be bonded and insured. What are our rights?

Asked on April 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I can tell from the way that you have written the question that things must be a bit tense between family members here.  It often gets that way, unfortunately,  when a parent passes away.  So here is what you need to do.  Take a really deep breath and understand that emotions an overtake reason in these matters but you need to put things in perspective and take a step back to assess the situation.  Now, the executor has the right to "make rules", so to speak, that he or she thinks is for the benefit of the estate.  They rules can not be intended to penalize an heir in any way or made in spite.  And as long as everyone is treated rqually without harm there may be a valid reason the executor wishes only to have the heirs present.  The executor should do an inventory of the assets before anyone enters the house.  And I would request that before hand as well.  Go with your own moving company if the one provided is not bonded but perhaps ask for a set off.  I might consult with an attorney in your area on the matter just so you know how to present yourself rationally in the situation. Good luck to you.


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