My father listed in his will a car, and many household items and keepsakes to be distributed to various beneficiaries. Only one item (an antique bureau) is listed in the Inventory & Accounting. Does the executor have any obligation to "account" for the items listed in the will that apparently are no longer part of his estate? For instance, do we have any right to find out when the car was sold. I saw it just a month before he died, and there a strong chance it was sold after his death.Given we suspect it was sold after his death, would we have to serve discovery documents (such as requesting a copy to the bill of sale), to ascertain the actual date of sale?
If it was in his estate at the date of his death, it must be accounted for. If it was sold before his death, it is not accounted for.
Any specific items/personal property that is listed in a Will needs to be accounted for if the decedent had those items in their possession on the date of death. A Will speaks at the time of death, so if any of the items listed in his Will were sold or your father gave/gifted them away before he died, then they do not need to be accounted for. It is good practice to explain to the court/beneficiaries what happened to each of the listed items that were not inventoried in the estate. You can request information about each of the unaccounted for items, along with any documentation in a letter to the executor and their attorney. If they do not provide the information, then you should consult with an attorney in your area for further action.
Yes if they existed and you believe they were sold afterwards. If appointed as administrator, you can already do discovery on these issues.
Yes an Executor absolutely has to account for everything that your father owned at the time of death until the final accounting is approved by the Probate Court. With this said, generally the Court is not interested in accounting for keep sakes that only have sentimental value or miscellaneous furniture; though coins, guns and readily saleable or registered items should be accounted for by the Executor. In the final accounting I would mention that the antique bureau listed in the Will was not present at time of death. As for the car, the Executor may have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify what happened to it. The Executor has the standing and the obligation to investigate. I hope this helps.
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