Can an exceuter of an estate get items that were given to me before they took over the estate?

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Can an exceuter of an estate get items that were given to me before they took over the estate?

I was given TV’s worth about $1800 by the owner and friend before she passed away. I have had them for a little over 2 months. Now the sister is executer of her estate and wants them back. I

have text messages saying that she wants me to have them but not from the owner. A friend that was there at the time. When I was there she said I could have the TV’s in front of 2 witnesses. Can the sister sue me to get them back or can I keep them?

Asked on January 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

She can sue you in the sense that anyone can sue anybody else--the courts do not "prescreen" lawsuits to make sure they are viable. But to get the TVs back, she would have to be able to prove, whether by documentary evidence or testimony, that they were not given to you pre-death; and you could of course present your evidence to the contrary. Only if she could convince a court that they were not given to you could she recover them or their value from you, since if they were gifted, they belong to you: a gift, once given, cannot be ungiven and belongs to the recipient.


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