My father passed away, having a will stating that I was to receive his firearms collection and all things firearm related. (His gun safe and reloading equipment). The will is currently in the probate process. The woman he was married to had the safe cut open by a locksmith and has sold many of the guns. To me, this is property that his will clearly stated belongs to me. I'm curious what recourse I have. Also, did she technically sell stolen property that legally belonged to me? I'm just trying to explore my options. Also if it makes any difference, I am the executor of the will. I do not understand why she cannot be ordered to turn over what if anything that she might still be in possession of. Thanks in advance for any answers or clarification you can provide
Before I answer the questions I need to state that you need to hire a lawyer to straighten this out. As to the guns there are several relevant facts that are not in your question which make it difficult to provide a specific answer. However, generally the wife cannot sell the guns, with some exceptions related specifically to probate procedure. The one cavest to this answer is if she was the co-owner of the guns (and can prove it in court).
As to you being the executor (the personal representative in Florida) in the will, you should have received notice of the procedure where the wife was made "executor ". If not you should seek to assert your rights in the probate case.
Again, a probate attorney can help you pursue you right in the estate. Best of luck.
The estate has the right to recover assets owned by the decedent if those assets were sold or otherwise misappropriated by a beneficiary. You indicated in one of your follow-up posts that you have an attorney. I would suggest raising this issue with your attorney immediately so that he/she can review the estate's claim and initiate the process to recover those items, if appropriate.
In addition to the answers already provided, did your father own the guns in a trust? Were any of the weapons Class III? If so, you should raise these specific issues with your attorney and examine the need for an attorney that has experience with firearms law.
I deal with firearms issues all the time. First, it is possible that the items were not separate property, may have been community property, or they may have been owned by a trust and the will may not apply regardless of what it states. I would suggest that you contact an attorney to determine what the issue and logic behind what was done is so that you can determine if there is something that can be done
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
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