Standish, ME asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Civil Litigation for Maine

Q: Do I have a right to move into a vacant home that I’m half owner of to protect it while waiting for probate to end?

I inherited a house 50/50 with my sister. She’s agreed to sell me her share but won’t allow me to move in even though I own half of it and the house is empty. She has her own house. It’s doubtful the case will go to probate and someone needs to watch the house and protect it from break ins as there’s been high activity in the area. We have enough money in the estate to cover me buying her share, and she will get paid once the funds are released as I told her. Is there a way I can get in there sooner then waiting 6-9 months? Winter is coming and someone needs to be there to take care of the property.

1 Lawyer Answer
Daniel J. Eccher
Daniel J. Eccher
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Winthrop, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: You should hire a lawyer to advise you about this situation.

Based on what you have said, it appears as if title to the house rests with the estate. Therefore, no one has a right to occupy the property until and unless it is deeded to them.

You should be able to negotiate a lease with the estate, but you would only be able to do that if there is a Personal Representative appointed by a probate court, so I am confused why you would write that it is "doubtful the case will go to probate." Perhaps you meant that it could go through the "informal" rather than the "formal" process, but if title to real estate is involved, then it must go through probate.

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