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What if an estate executor removes assets from the house?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2022 | probate litigation |

One problem that can sometimes arise during probate is that the estate executor decides that they’re going to remove assets from the deceased person’s home. This can be in direct violation of the estate plan and may violate the rights of the beneficiaries. 

After all, one of the main duties of an estate executor is to go through all of the assets and take inventory of them. This allows that person to then distribute those assets in the way described in the will. But, if they remove items beforehand, then beneficiaries who are supposed to receive them may not get what they are due. 

Why would someone do this? 

This is unlikely to be a problem if the estate executor is a third party who is unconnected to the family. But one reason it may happen is if the person who passed away simply chose one of their heirs to also serve as the executor. This person would then directly have something to gain. 

For instance, perhaps all of the siblings wanted the same item from the home that had sentimental value to them. The will did not assign it directly to any one person. Therefore, when the estate executor went into the house to begin the inventory, they decided that it was their chance to take that item for themselves. This could happen with something like a painting or a book collection, or even an asset that has very little financial value. 

If this does happen, the other heirs may take issue with it. It’s important for them to know about all of the legal options that they have if their rights have been violated.