Yours is a common problem, caused by folks who think there are shortcuts to the law. If the Executor owns the van and wants to give it to you, he can. But there is nothing that prevents him from selling the van and keeping the money. Even if the Executor is a good guy who wants to give you the van, he may be using the money to pay estate bills .... which he is not legally required to do. You may be able to persuade the Executor, but the law is not on your side in your desire to have the van.
Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
If I'm reading this right, the problem is your uncle did not leave the van to you in his Will. The letter and the talk from and with our uncle do not get the van to you. I really see no recourse for you on this one. Sorry to tell you that.
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I agree with Attorneys Huddleston and Thompson. Unfortunately, absent something in the will, you are going to be at the mercy of the executor. Your best arguments will relate to the letter and what your executor knew about your uncle's wishes -- focus on the executor's moral obligation to follow your uncle's wishes and you may have some success. People like to sleep at night. Good luck to you.
This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.
Some wills include a provision stating that if a letter or note is discovered that indicates that the testator wanted to make a gift that the testator hopes that the executor will honor such a writing. However, I have never read anything stating that they are bound to honor such a writing. I think the other attorneys are correct that the decision rests with the executor.