Navigating Legal Matters After a Family Member's Passing in New York: No Will, Rental Home Situation


Just over a month ago, my father passed away without leaving a will. Following his passing, I was appointed as the voluntary administrator of his small estate by the surrogates court. Here are some crucial details: 


- My father was a tenant in a home owned by my grandfather, who resides next door. 

- The rental agreement was on a month-to-month basis. 

- Shortly after my father's passing, my aunt, who lives with my grandfather, began taking items from my father's house without my authorization. 

- I am sharing and dividing possessions with my brother in Tennessee, ensuring fairness in the process despite my aunt's actions. 


Despite being granted administration of the estate, my aunt has continued to enter my father's home and claim his personal belongings over the past month. Recently, she has asserted ownership of various items that she allegedly gave to my father, such as the washer/dryer, end stands, and valuable music equipment, which have been in my father's possession for over a decade. I have discovered receipts proving his ownership of these items. 


Moreover, my grandfather has set a deadline of June 1st for clearing out the house, contradicting his earlier statement that there was no rush. My aunt's son plans to move into the house on June 1st, coinciding with the end of his current lease. 


Additionally, my grandfather and aunt are attempting to claim items that rightfully belong to my father, including sentimental possessions like my daughter's swing. They have also taken items without notice, such as empty bottles, without regard for my presence or consent. 


As my father resided in the house for more than a decade and accumulated various possessions, I have taken a temporary break from work to manage the estate and oversee the cleanout process diligently. 


Specific inquiries I have include: 


- What is the legal timeframe for clearing out the house? 

- Can we extend the rental period by paying next month's rent to facilitate the cleanout process, or must everything be removed by June 1st? 

- How can I address my aunt and grandfather's unauthorized entry into my father's home and removal of belongings, despite my objections? 


With limited access to legal counsel over the holiday weekend, I seek guidance on handling these matters appropriately. Thank you for any assistance provided. 

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