What rights do I have to my father’s personal belongings as sole beneficiary in his Will?

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What rights do I have to my father’s personal belongings as sole beneficiary in his Will?

My aunt and executor of the Will has taken my father’s watch for herself and will not give it back to me. What rights do I have or course of action can I take to get my father’s watch?

Asked on November 11, 2010 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  What you need to do is to seek help to petition to have your Aunt removed as the executor based upon a breach of fiduciary duty.  She can not "take" things for herself.  She is under a huge obligation to make sure that the wishes of your Father are carried out as per the Will.  The assets of the estate are not hers but hers for safe keeping for the beneficiaries of the estate.  If she "dissipates" these assets or distributes them in opposite of the decedent's wishes then she is acting against the interests of the estate.  Be aware that your hiring an attorney will not be covered by estate funds BUT her defense will be. So maybe a really strongly worded letter from ana ttorney is the way to begin. Good luck. 


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