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Probate - Executor Duties

15 Oct, 2016


I am executor to my mother's estate. One of my siblings refuses to leave the family house so that I can sell it and share out the proceeds three ways as per my mother's will. Does he have the right to live there forever (as he wants to do) or can I have him evicted?

As executor you are obliged to identify, gather and protect the assets of the estate, pay all debts and liabilities, and distribute the net estate to the beneficiaries as soon as possible.

In doing this you are bound to follow the directions set out in the will, making you obliged to sell the house and share the net proceeds amongst the beneficiaries.

Mary Sankey of Sankey McGrath Solicitors says: Your sibling cannot simply decide to remain in the property unless he has the consent of all beneficiaries. If he refuses to vacate the property, eviction proceedings will be required.

This can be an expensive and lengthy process, although if successful, costs should follow the event, and be awarded against your sibling.

Clarify that your sibling is not contending the will for some other reason, eg a promise that he would be allowed to remain in the property.

There is an alternative to sale. A deed of family arrangement between all of you will let one sibling remain there if he buys out the shares of the other two.

To facilitate family arrangements after death, there is provision that any variation made by deed within two years of the death will be regarded as made by the deceased at the time of his/her death, and so they are not treated as a further disposal of the assets.