Sometimes family members are less than cooperative in helping to settle the estate. Other times, they are downright hostile. So, what happens when an heir seizes control of the estate home and won’t leave? What do you do? This can be a challenging issue, and our Georgia probate attorneys have some thoughts on how to deal with it.
Under Georgia probate and estate law, the administrator of an estate is charged with gathering and protecting all assets of the estate for the benefit of the heirs of the deceased. So, if someone is abusing or misusing property of the estate, then not only should the administrator seek court intervention, but he or she may actually have a legal duty to do so.
In addition, once appointed, the administrator is legally considered to be the “owner” of all of the estate’s property. As a result, the administrator is the only person who has a right to determine who may or may not live in an estate home. The exception to this rule is where there is a valid lease that was in place prior to the deceased’s death. In that case, then the administrator would be bound to uphold the terms of the lease.
So, if someone is living in the home without a lease and without the consent of the administrator, then the administrator may seek to have the person evicted from the home in virtually the same manner as any landlord may request to have a tenant removed who has stayed beyond the terms of their lease or who is failing to pay rent. These types of proceedings are not done in probate court, though. Depending on the county, they will typically be handled by magistrate’s court or superior court.
Like many contested issues in probate, this can get very complicated very quickly. So, if you find yourself in this type of situation, contact our office for a complimentary consultation to see how we can help.
Learn Important Probate Essentials, including key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.
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