It is not only legal, it is your duty to do so. PROVIDED you have been appointed Execcutor by the Probate Court. If you have an attorney handling this matter, he/she is the one you should be asking. If you are trying to handle the probate without an attorney, then the mere fact that you are asking this question in this forum is proof positive that you should IMMEDIATELY hire an attorney to advise and assist you.
Mr. Watling is 100% correct. Your duty is to protect and safeguard estate property. You may end up in court with a troublemaking family member but that is still your job. Make sure you hire an attorney and consult with the attorney before doing anything.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
You couldn't receive a more perfect answer to your question than that given by Mr. Watling. As an Executor, you are doing the right thing, but if you have warring siblings and haven't hired an attorney, you are making a potentially very costly mistake.
And if you are going to get a lawyer, get an expert who does this all the time. Certified Specialists must have experience, be recommended by their peers and pass a rigorous test. Hire someone who does this every day and knows how to deal with troublesome family members.
Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with all of the excellent answers you have already received. I would simply add that, based on your facts, it sounds like you are NOT the executor. You are not the executor until an estate is opened and you are appointed executor by the court and given legal authority. Unless that has happened, you are not executor and you have no more authority to keep your siblings from the property than I do. You need to open the estate and get things going. I also agree that you need to hire good probate counsel to assist you with this process. You do not want to risk the personal liability that goes with being executor, without guidance from a legal expert.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.