How long do I need to store something for someone that was willed to them?

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How long do I need to store something for someone that was willed to them?

When my grandmother, who lived in MT, passed away my uncle was not able to be present. My grandmother left my uncle her roll top desk and my aunt, the executor for my grandmother, has no where to store it until my uncle is able to pick it up. When my mother and husband were there after my grandmother passed away to help clean out her home, my aunt told my mother and husband that they have to take that desk with them or it will be thrown away and my mother couldn’t have any of my grandmother’s things. So we took the desk almost 2 years ago and put it in our garage in WA until my uncle could come pick it up in the summer. He never came. He is now asking us to drive it to either MT or CA for him. We are not able to. He is also asking for things in the desk that were never there coins, silver certificates, jewelry, etc.. He has never paid us anything for storing the desk for him. I asked him to remove the desk from our possession within the next 6 months or we will need to sell it and he told me that it will cause problems for me if I do sell it. What are my legal rights and how do I resolve this matter without too much trouble?

Asked on January 16, 2019 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can't sell it (because that would be taking something belonging to another person), but you are under no obligation to store it for him, ship it for him, etc. You can set it as trash/garbage or just on the sidewalk for anyone to drive by and take if he does not retrieve it following written notice from you (preferrably sent some way you can prove receipt) and a reasonable time or opportunity for him to get it. The law never makes you store or more another's propert for them, so you can remove it from your home.


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