Ask The Lawyer -This week’s question:
This week’s question: AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF MY MOTHER’S ESTATE, MAY I LIVE IN MY MOTHER’S HOUSE RENT FREE AFTER SHE DIES?
QUESTION: Last week we presented the duties of a personal representative of a probate estate. This week’s question comes from an appointed personal representative.
My mother died last year and I opened a probate estate as her personal representative. My mother’s last will left her house in equal shares to me and to my two brothers. I took care of my mother during her last illness and lived with her for the last two years. I have been busy cleaning out mountains of clutter in the house since I became personal representative. My brothers are objecting to my continued presence in the house, which they claim is two-thirds theirs. They want me to pay rent! Do I have to pay rent when I am the one doing the work to clean out the house and where I am the one who took care of my mother? This does not seem fair.
ANSWER: Accepting the appointment of Personal Representative of your mother’s estate does not entitle you to free rent. While you willingly cared for your mother before her death, the consideration you may have received for that care in the form of free rent from your mother is past consideration and does not survive the death of your mother.
Your brothers have correctly asserted they possess proprietary interests in your mother’s house through her last will. It is your duty to dispose and apportion the assets of your mother’s estate as stated in that will. Unless there is a provision for you to receive free rent during the administration of the estate’s assets, you are not entitled to free rent.
A Personal Representative, however, is entitled to be reasonably compensated for his or her efforts in administering the estate during the probate process. You could negotiate with your brothers and enter into a mutually agreeable arrangement about your compensation in exchange for rent or see a lawyer to help you and your brothers avoid a potential dispute over estate assets.
The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at www.gwinntauriainenlaw.com.
ASK THE LAWYER
By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3310 facsimile