What to do about items missing from inventory in my father’s estate?

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What to do about items missing from inventory in my father’s estate?

I am administrator of my father’s estate. At my father’s wife’s request, we had a professional company inventory my father’s personal property. I was present for the inventory and there were several items missing from the residence. My stepmother is still residing in there. 2 of the items missing were old firearms initially owned by my grandfather. I have pictures of the guns hanging on the wall as of 10 months ago and I have a copy of a household inventory (by the same professional inventory company we are using for the estate) from 10 years ago showing they were in the residence. Now, the guns are gone. My stepmother says my father did something with them as he was worried about the grandkids playing with them. She states she doesn’t know what he did. Do I have any recourse to find these? I am not allowed on the property. The grandkids have all grown up around these guns and my dad never worried about them before. This is not a large estate.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, Kansas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you are the administrator for your father's estate you have a fiduciary obligation to the estate's beneficiaries to account for the missing items in the inventory that you have. The best way to start dealing with the problem is to consult with the attorney (assuming you have one) assisting in the estate's administration on how to deal with the discrepancy and follow his or her suggestions.

My thinking is to file a petition with the court about the problem with documentation showing what was present and what is not present and ask for an order from the court on how to proceed. If you think that your stepmother sold the firearms for her own means, you might consider asking the court to "cite" her to appear before it and answer questions as to these missing assets.

Good luck.


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