Can I change the locks to prevent further pillaging of an estate by the executor?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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Can I change the locks to prevent further pillaging of an estate by the executor?

Long-estranged child is dad’s executor. I was live-in caregiver and still reside in dad’s house, caring for the residence until it is sold). I’m also continuing to safekeep the heirlooms. Since dad’s passing, I’ve been photographing and distributing these to all my siblings (heirs). I have removed nothing, as the home and its contents belong to all of us. Recently the executor and the other long-estranged child came over to “help pack things up”, so I left them a key to lock up (I had to to to work). I came home to find they’d taken all the heirloom jewelry (photographed). Can he evict me? What if the executor never returns what they claim they took for safekeeping?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the estate has an attorney representing it, I suggest that you immediately contact him or her about the recent events where items belonging to the estate have been taken and provide the attorney with copies of the evidence showing what was taken.

If the attorney refsues to act on the information you provide to the detriment of the estate's heirs, you should consult with a Wills and trust attorney along with the other heirs of the estate who are not taking things.

As to being evicted, that will be something to consider. However, if the executor of the estate is engaging in improprieties, you and the other heirs could file a petition to have the court cite him for what supposedly was done. If found to be true, the court per an order could remove him as the executor.

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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