Frequently, upon the death of a loved one (the “decedent”), one or more of surviving family members will go through the decedent’s jewelry, clothing, furniture, furnishings, appliances, art work, etc., and take these assets for themselves. A family member removing any property almost always states the decedent “wanted me to have this.”
This may or may not be true. All property belonging to decedent must remain intact until a personal representative of the estate is appointed, inventories all assets and determines the proper beneficiary of each item. After creditors have been satisfied, these tangible assets can be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries in accordance with decedent’s express wishes.
Therefore, it is suggested that a personal representative be appointed as quickly as possible after decedent’s death and that he or she secure all assets for safe keeping during the probate period.
My next blog will address the subject of how “asset grab” can be prevented.