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My father just passed away. His home is willed to my sister and myself, to be sold and the income split between us. My sister, her 33 year old son and his girlfriend have been living in my father’s house for 10 years. He has supported them, they are not employed and pay no rent or ANYTHING for living there. There is another home on his property that is for her to live in, yet they have bullied their way into his years back due to theirs being a total disaster from lack of upkeep. Now that he is gone, do they have any legal right to remain in his home until it is sold? If not, what is the legal recourse to ensure that they do not remain there and destroy it before it can be sold in a livable state? Thank you.
Asked on April 8, 2016 under Estate Planning, Arizona
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
They do not have a legal right to live there, but may only be removed by the estate's personal representative (the executor or court-appointed administrator) if she/he believes it's in the interest of the estate to remove them, by filing the appropriate legal action (most likely an action for "ejectment," which is how you remove non-rent-paying tenants). The can't be removed otherwise. The personal representative could also elect to let them stay, if he/she thinks its better to have the home occupied than empty; or could offer to let them stay if they pay rent, to bring money into the estate (and/or provide funds to keep up the home).