If the funeral home signed for my husband’s personal effects but lost them or cremated them, what can I do to get them to replace the his watch?

My husband passed away from an accident. The funeral home signed for his personal effects and lost them or cremated them, they aren’t sure. I had bought him an expensive watch that I want back for sentimental reasons. This has caused me a lot of grief on top of everything else. They will not accept responsibility and replace the watch which cost $1000. I am heart sick and don’t have the money to attain a lawyer. What can I do to get them to replace the watch?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under General Practice, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  I would write them a letter by certified mail return receipt requested requesting his personal effects and stating what he had on him the day he died to the best of your knowledge.  Advise them that it is your property now that they are intentionally with holding.  If they have indeed lost the property or improperly disposed of same then you ask that they reimburse you or make an insurance claim on the property.  Are you probating an estate?  The estate has a right to sue them and could maybe even in small claims court.  But you need to be appointed as the personal reppresentative and make sure that you have proof of the value of the lost items.  Good luck.  

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