Can an estate sale company force a surviving child to pay for personal and other items that were verbally given to them before death?

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Can an estate sale company force a surviving child to pay for personal and other items that were verbally given to them before death?

My mother died years before my father and verbally told me what she wanted me to have, some are high-end items. My father remarried and has since died. His widow is now telling me that the estate sale company has already inventoried the house and told her that anything that has been inventoried and removed from the house has to be paid for. I have personal belongings in the house as well as the items that my mother left me, do I really need to pay for these? My sister is executor of the estate and has left this part to the widow.

Asked on April 14, 2012 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  Your own items can not be iventoried as part of the estate for sure.  The problems with the other items is that they were a verbal gift, left at the decedent's house (which in this case is understandable) and you are going to have to in some way prove it.  You sister needs to step up to the plate here.  She is the only person who should be saying what is going on here and if she knows that some thing is yours or was a gift.  You can speak with an attorney and contest the inventory.  Good luck. 


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