Can an Executor in GA lock the house and prohibit a beneficiary from entering?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an Executor in GA lock the house and prohibit a beneficiary from entering?

Brother-in-law is living in a barn on the property for the last 20 years with his
parents who lived in the house. Both have now died. He is a drunk and has no job,
pays no rent. He has damaged almost everything around, vehicles, gates, etc. But
he won’t leave Now I get a letter from his lawyer asking me to allow him in the
house. Meanwhile we are working to fix up the house and ready it for sale. It has
been 7 months and he refuses to move. No one will want to buy it with a drunk in
the barn. What can we do? He is harassing us and leaving messages. Please help.

Asked on April 6, 2017 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Normally, an executor can prohibit a beneficiary from living on estate property while probate is open, especially if "waste" is being committed by the beneficiary. The fact is that an executor has a fiduciary duty to protect assets of the estate from damage and loss. However, since this beneficiary is living on the premises and was initially doing so with the late owners' permission, then they have established rights as either a "tenant" or "guest". Accordingly, you cannot simply limit their access to the property. They must be given legal notice to vacate. Then, if they fail to remove themselves by the date given, as executor you can file for an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. eviction) or for an "action in ejectment" (the first is to remove a tenant; the latter is to remove a guest). At this point you should consult directly with a local attorney; they can best advise you further.    

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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