ADVICE ON PROTECTING OFFSITE PROPERTY

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
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Southern Cal
My wife's sister in Miami, Florida passed away last month. She left everything to my wife in her will.
House and all other assets.
She has a healthy amount of equity in the house.
We have a local probate attorney working on everything.
Problem is, there are currently some uninvited visitors staying in the house refusing to leave, saying "you can't get us out of here with Covid-19" going on.
They were my sister-in-laws friends and occasionally stayed at her house for a few weeks at a time.
Never any rent or lease involved.
So called friends of my wife's sister.
She was a very kindhearted person.
They have maxed out most of her credit cards. Thank goodness all the charges were after her date of death so zero responsibility there.
Once the probate court allows us we will start eviction proceedings.
I'm not sure if that's what you call it if they are not renting.
There is currently no power or water being supplied to the house.
Once we make sure they are out we will have the locks changed.
What I would like to have additionally is some type of security system installed for unauthorized entry but I would also like to have some type of random video surveillance at my own discretion of both inside and out.
There is no power or water in the house.
I think this may be able to be done via a battery system with cellular video transmission.
Any suggestions?
 
Joined
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Kitchener, ON
If they were never tenants, then they were guests. Guests who are not welcome anymore according to the estate manager (your wife?). If they don't leave after being informed they are no longer welcome, then they are trespassing. The police might be willing to help as long as they agree it's not a tenant situation.

The police would be very interested to learn these people were using someone else's credit cards fraudulently. I suspect either the card companies or the businesses were caught and are also looking for ways to recoup their money. This will help your case to show they are not actually tenants.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
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623
Location
MN, USA
Most of the major alarm companies now offer video surveillance (interior and exterior) in addition to unwarranted entry, fire, water, and temperature sensing. There are also 'do-it-yourself' (Simplisafe) companies which also provide monitoring.

The most concerning thing to me is that they are staying there without utilities so at some point you'd think there'd some health concerns that would draw in local officials. I don't know what the laws in FL are about squatters though I know many people who have second homes in FL and imagine this is a more frequent problem than elsewhere. You might consider a property manager who would first address all these issues and maintain the property for you until your wife decides to either sell it, rent it out, or use it as a second home.
 
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NC
Another consideration is that the homeowner insurance policy could be an issue if property damages occur with this type of situation.
 
Joined
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How old are the people squatting in this home? What does your probate attorney say about this matter? Seems like a call to the local police department would be in order to rectify this situation.
Their ages are 24, 30 and 45.
I've had the sheriff out there.
They have been warned not to drive my sister-in-law's car.
The sheriff advised to file an emergency eviction.
We have to wait about two weeks for the judge to give my wife that authority while probate is still in process. That takes about 4-6 weeks total.
What got us off to a slow start was waiting 4 weeks for the death certificate. The Dr. who signed it put the wrong date of death on it so we had to wait for a corrected one.
We are not able to file a police report for the credit card companies.
It is up to the credit card companies since the estate has zero responsibility as all the charges were made after her death. We did give the companies their names.
First on the list is to have them removed, secure the house, and then take out an additional vacant home policy. Right now with them staying there, the house is insured. Once they leave the insurance would have issues with a claim if the house was vacant. Then we can sell. I already have a realtor lined up.
 
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This is a tough situation. On the one hand, the people might be in a difficult situation worthy of sympathy. On the other hand, they are putting the estate at risk and the executor has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the estate. Not at all easy on any level.
To us they are no longer worthy of sympathy.
The night my sister-in-law passed away we asked them to text us photos of her credit cards and bank information so we could start shutting them down. Instead they maxed out every card and clean out her bank account. Sorry, no sympathy here. My sister-in-law lived a very frugal life. Her credit score was excellent yet she made sure all of her credit cards did not have over a $1000 credit line and all of them had a zero balance until all this started.
 
Joined
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Los Angeles, USA
From the sounds of it those aren't friends to your sister-in-law (RIP), but unscrupulous people who took advantage of the situation.

Regarding cameras Arlo makes the Arlo Go which is battery powered and can also transmit footage via cellular transmission:
https://www.amazon.com/Arlo-Go-Connectivity-Weatherproof-VML4030-200NAS/dp/B06Y24Q3HX/ref=sr_1_3?crid=25WUHSCCL17ES&dchild=1&keywords=arlo+cellular+camera&qid=1589386728&sprefix=arlo+cellul,aps,273&sr=8-3

I use Arlo cameras, but I have access to them for maintenance. For something that won't get battery changes often, perhaps Vosker cameras might be an option, but I have no experience with them. They're solar powered and Florida has a good amount of sun, so these might be an option:
https://www.amazon.com/Vosker-Weath...dp/B07N1SD1G3/ref=psdc_14241331_t1_B06Y24Q3HX
 
Joined
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  • #10
From the sounds of it those aren't friends to your sister-in-law (RIP), but unscrupulous people who took advantage of the situation.

Regarding cameras Arlo makes the Arlo Go which is battery powered and can also transmit footage via cellular transmission:
https://www.amazon.com/Arlo-Go-Connectivity-Weatherproof-VML4030-200NAS/dp/B06Y24Q3HX/ref=sr_1_3?crid=25WUHSCCL17ES&dchild=1&keywords=arlo+cellular+camera&qid=1589386728&sprefix=arlo+cellul,aps,273&sr=8-3

I use Arlo cameras, but I have access to them for maintenance. For something that won't get battery changes often, perhaps Vosker cameras might be an option, but I have no experience with them. They're solar powered and Florida has a good amount of sun, so these might be an option:
https://www.amazon.com/Vosker-Weath...dp/B07N1SD1G3/ref=psdc_14241331_t1_B06Y24Q3HX
Thanks Jonathan.
I'll check them out.
 
Joined
May 3, 2007
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
To us they are no longer worthy of sympathy.
The night my sister-in-law passed away we asked them to text us photos of her credit cards and bank information so we could start shutting them down. Instead they maxed out every card and clean out her bank account. Sorry, no sympathy here. My sister-in-law lived a very frugal life. Her credit score was excellent yet she made sure all of her credit cards did not have over a $1000 credit line and all of them had a zero balance until all this started.
They have committed a crime with the credit card theft. Why can't the sheriff arrest them for that?
 
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They have committed a crime with the credit card theft. Why can't the sheriff arrest them for that?
My sister-in-law has zero liability since the charges were made after her death.
There are no financial damaged to her so a police report cannot be made by the estate.
The credit card companies can indeed file charges but I doubt they will.
 
Joined
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Parasitic scum and they have more rights that honest folks! o_O
Do you definitely have that right Nick.
We asked them to leave.
They replied that we would have to legally force them out and "that's not going to happen with Covid-19 going on" We still do not have the legal right to do that until probate gives us the authority to do so. The sheriff said they would help us enforce an expedited eviction even with Covid-19 but we need the judge to give us the authority first.
 
Joined
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
There are no financial damaged to her so a police report cannot be made by the estate.
I'm sure you've looked into it but that doesn't make any sense to me. Someone could burn the house down but because it is owned by the estate no police report can be filed?

The reason that doesn't make any sense is that in Miami I was the executor of my deceased aunt's estate. One of her children absconded with her car, which was now owned by the estate. The attorney advised me that if the child didn't immediately return the car, we would have to send the police after her. Fortunately, she returned the car without us having to do that.
 
Joined
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Cornpatch
They have committed a crime with the credit card theft. Why can't the sheriff arrest them for that?
1. It's a civil matter. 2. They don't want to put real criminals in jail... they'd rather arrest people for skateboarding, surfing, sitting in your church parking lot listening to Easter services on the radio........
 
Joined
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
1. It's a civil matter. 2. They don't want to put real criminals in jail... they'd rather arrest people for skateboarding, surfing, sitting in your church parking lot listening to Easter services on the radio........
1. I don't know about Florida but in Colorado credit card theft is a criminal offense and can be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the details. 2. I do not want to get this discussion shut down so I will simply say that I think you are wrong and that this is not the place for political opinion.
 
Joined
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I'm sure you've looked into it but that doesn't make any sense to me. Someone could burn the house down but because it is owned by the estate no police report can be filed?

The reason that doesn't make any sense is that in Miami I was the executor of my deceased aunt's estate. One of her children absconded with her car, which was now owned by the estate. The attorney advised me that if the child didn't immediately return the car, we would have to send the police after her. Fortunately, she returned the car without us having to do that.
It would be very complicated if something like that happened simply because she died a little over a month ago. The delay in getting the death certificate really stopped us from moving forward. An insurance company will not honor a claim to someone deceased. The bank who holds the mortgage is a different story. They could file the claim and then submit the difference to us once my wife is legally listed on the probate.
 

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