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Can a family heirloom that was given to someone out side of the family before the owners death be taken back?

Philadelphia, PA |

A woman who had a family heirloom knowing she was dying and estranged from her family decided to give a close friend the heirloom instead of allowing it to go to a family member upon her death. Now deceased the family is claiming it is part of the estate. Even though they have had no contact with the deceased until the time of her death. Does the friend who received the ring from the deceased legally committed to return the ring to the family since the ring was disposed prior to death.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    If the decedent had capacity and was not subject to undue influence, she was free to make any gifts she wanted to. The family would have to prove lack of capacity or undue influence. The gifts sounds like it was delivered with donative intent and is complete.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  2. How long prior to death was the ring given? Was the now deceased woman mentally competent at the time the ring was transferred?

    The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs. www.figgardenlaw.com


  3. Probably not. A gift is a gift. If the deceased was of sound mind and had the legal capacity to give the gift, the family has no right to it.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.

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