Parents recently deceased, only brother made executor of the will.

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Parents recently deceased, only brother made executor of the will.

Our parents left a small parcel of land that includes a double wide. I also have a triple wide sitting on this land. Our sister was living in parents home before & after deaths. Recently, while I was away, & sister was in the hospital, our brother moved our sister out & moved himself in. To top things off, when I asked what he thought about my placing a small trailer on the land for our sister, he said “we’ll see” Can he prevent me from placing a home on this land? The land has not even been probated yet, and it not paid for yet!

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Right now, the land belongs to the estate of your last deceased parent, and if your brother is the executor under the parent's will, he has legal control of it.  That means that he can prevent you from putting another trailer on the land, and it might mean that he was within his rights to move your sister out, depending on what agreement, if any, your sister had with your parent(s).

Moving onto the property for his own benefit, though, might be a different matter, especially if he is not paying rent into the estate for his personal use of the property.  The executor of an estate is held to what the law calls a fiduciary duty, which means (among other things) that he cannot use his position for an unfair personal benefit.

I think you and your sister need to talk to a lawyer in your area who has experience in wills and estates.  Cases like this, between brothers and sisters after parents have died, can be among the nastiest, most expensive and unpredictable lawsuits at the courthouse, and there are a lot more facts to be considered than what you've mentioned.  The exact wording of the will is just the first of those things.  In your place, I would talk to the lawyer before I talked to the executor brother again.  One place you can look for counsel is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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