Is changing locks to keep other siblings out legal?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is changing locks to keep other siblings out legal?

My children’s father passed away a week ago. Their half brother, whom the father hadn’t spoke to in 6 years and wanted nothing to do with, has now changed the locks on the home and filed for

executor of estate. Does he have the right to do this? My son lived in the home with his father.

Asked on July 9, 2016 under Estate Planning, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF he becomes the executor or administrator of the estate, THEN he can change the locks IF doing so is in the best interest of the heirs and beneficiaries: the executor or other court-appointed administrator *must* act in the interest of those who will inherit, whether under a will or under intestate success (who gets what, if there is no will). The executor or administrator cannot act in his own interest, and one beneficiary taking advantage for himself is also illegal; the way to respond to this is to bring a legal action in chancery, probate, or surrogate's court (call the court clerk; they can direct you to the approopriate court to file in, in your county) seeking a court order laying out how the property must be dealt with.

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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