Can the personal representative of the deceased take or utilize estate property?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can the personal representative of the deceased take or utilize estate property?

Before my mother passed, she chose my deceased sister’s husband as her personal representative. He is not in the Will but is driving the car my mother ownedpaid for outright. Can he do this? Also, he has taken jewelry belonging to hermy mother and given it to his new wife. Is that legal?

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Estate Planning, Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The executor can't take your mother's car and jewelry.  You can sue the executor for conversion (theft in a civil case).  Your remedy would be a constructive trust which would require the executor to return the assets to your mother's estate.
If your mother's Will includes procedures for removing the executor and/or appointing a successor, those procedures should be followed.  If the Will is silent as to appointment of a successor, petition the court to appoint a successor.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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