If I’m an executor of my father’s Will and he left some items to grandchildren but the items are missing, what should I do?

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If I’m an executor of my father’s Will and he left some items to grandchildren but the items are missing, what should I do?

Asked on January 19, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It depends on *why* you think those items are missing:

1) He sold, lost, broke, gave away, etc. those items prior to his death--there's nothing you can do and nothing wrong was done: regardless of what's in a will, a person *always* has the right to dispose of his belongings prior to death. Really, what the will says is "IF the following objects are part of my estate at my death, they will go to...."

2) But if someone, like a friend, family member, employee (like an aide or care giver) stole the objects, either prior to your father's death or post-death, then you could report the alleged thefts to the police and/or, as executor, sue those persons for the return of the objects and/or for their fair market value.


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