Can beneficiaries be evicted from estate property?

UPDATED: Jan 15, 2015

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Can beneficiaries be evicted from estate property?

Why mother passed away 2 years ago and left me 60% of her estate and my daughter who lives with me 15%. We have been living in the home for a year without rent but paying all household expenses except property tax. The executor had us evicted and we were left homeless and forced to live in a shelter. Since we are the majority shareholders, is this legal? And even if it is, would we have a civil case against the executor or the estate?

Asked on January 15, 2015 under Estate Planning, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You write that "the executor" had you evicted. That presumably means that you were evicted prior to the distribution of the estate. At that time, you were guests, not tenants, of the estate (since you were not paying rent and, presumably, did not have a lease); in that case, then just as your mother could have evicted you at any time (since guests may be evicted at any time), the executor could evict you. Whether or not you stood to inherit, between the two of you, 75% of the estate does NOT mean you had the right to stay in the home before  the estate was distributed; all that means is that when the home is sold, the two of you will share in 75% of the proceeds from the sale (after taking out estate debts and expenses). Since the executor acted within his or her power, there would be no legal claim against  the executor or estate.

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