What is an executor’s financial responsibility and right to evict a person who living in a deceased person’s house?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is an executor’s financial responsibility and right to evict a person who living in a deceased person’s house?

I have been asked to be the executor of my mother’s Will. Currently she lives in her house with my youngest brother who is approximately 53 years old. My mother’s health is failing and I have offered her a place in my house to live where she can get the care that she requires. The problem is with my youngest brother who has never lived anywhere else and has never held a job or earned a living. Her Will states that the house is to be sold and any proceeds from the sale are to be split 3 ways between myself and 2 brothers. I do not believe that my youngest brother will willingly leave the house. My mother would like to sell now and move closer buying another house and leaving it to the brother in question but he is not willing to move out of the area he is in. I know that as the executor I am responsible for maintaining the property paying the bills and any other debt she has but if he refuses to leave the house after her death and all money she has set aside to maintain her house pay bills make house payments is exhausted do I become financially responsible to maintain the house and pay the utility bills until he is removed and the house is sold.

Asked on April 24, 2019 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your authority begins once your mother passes away: while she is still living, she can remove him from the property, or someone who has a POA from her can remove him, but an executor cannot.
Once your mother does pass, you can remove your brother: having been allowed to live there does not give him any vested or continuing right to live there once the person with legal authority over the property (i.e. the executor) wants him gone. You will be able to give him reasonable written notice (e.g. a month's notice) to move out. If he does not, you can bring a legal action traditionally called an action "for ejectment"--basically, eviction for someone who is not a rent-paying tenant. The action is somewhat "technical" and would be a non-lawyer insituting an action on behalf of another legal entity (the "estate"), so you would need to retain a lawyer to bring this action for you. That lawyer may be paid by estate funds.

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