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