Am I obligated to clean up my deceased fathers home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I obligated to clean up my deceased fathers home?

Am executor in his will and live in another city. Father lived in the house but the house was only in his late wifes name. I have no interest in the property and do not know the location of her grown children. My father was a hoarder and honestly, the property is probably condemnable.

Asked on December 31, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you have no obligation to clean up home IF you refuse to act as his executor. A person cannot be forced to be executor against his or her will. If you accept being executor, while you would not have to spend personal money on the clean-up, you would have a fiduciary duty to the heirs to manage the property in the estate, to take care or maintain it, to oversee using estate money to pay the expenses of the estate (e.g. mortgage, utilities, taxes), to try to repair estate property to maximize what it could be sold for (again, only using estate money), etc. So you can refuse to act as executor and also disclaim, or refuse, any inheritance in the house and then have no responsibiity whatsoever; or you can act as executor and/or (if you stand to inherit) accept an inheritance in/of the home, and in so doing accept responsibility for the home. It is all or nothing; you can choose to do/accept "nothing," but if you accept a role in the estate (excutor) or an inheritance in the house, you are then responsible for it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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