As the beneficiary of a home with 3 others, what are my rights/obligations regarding living in the home?

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As the beneficiary of a home with 3 others, what are my rights/obligations regarding living in the home?

My 3 siblings and I have just inherited a home and 3 undeveloped lots of land. The estate also has cash to be inherited by us. The attorney for the estate tells us that the estate must now clear probate. I had been living in the home taking care of our dying mother and now that she has died, I am continuing to live in the home. The other heirs do not live in there. The attorney for the estate says that I must now pay

Asked on December 18, 2016 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While the estate is being probated--that is, before probate is completed and the property distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries--it is part of the estate and is under the control of the executor (if there is a will) or court-appointed administrator (no will). These positions could also be called the "personal representative" and we will use that term below.
The personal representative has the obligation to act in the best interest of the estate and all the heirs, and to not favor one over another. The personal representative could conclude that it is unfair to let you use the property and get free rent when the other heirs do not get that. He could therefore require you to pay rent and, if you don't, either evict you for nonpayment or else take the costs the estate bore for you, like insurance and maintenance, out of your share of the estate.


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