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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Please can you assist me with a question regarding what I believe

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Please can you assist me with a question regarding what I believe to be theft. My mother died suddenly. I am the Executor and on her date of death I locked her house up. A few weeks later it was discovered that an iPad was missing from the house. This was there on the date of her death. Through Apple I was able to trace the iPad and found that it had been sold through a shop by my mothers cleaner whose family still held a key.
She claimed to the Police that my mother stated prior to death that she could have the iPad in the event of her death. After my mother died she entered the house with a key and took it. She then sold it within 3 days of taking it.
As Executor I believe that after my mothers death all her Estate would be my responsibility and therefore any items removed would need my permission.
Without this permission I can only see that her actions were dishonest and therefore contrary to Sec1 of the Theft Act or even as she did not have my permission to enter the house burglary.
The Police have stated that there is no offence claiming that they have statement from the cleaners mother remembering the conversation.
I have made a formal complaint to Police but still their response is the same.
It would seem that the Police are happy for anyone to go into a deceased persons house, remove whatever they like and claim that the deceased gave them permission
I would greatly appreciate your thoughts
Mr P Stevenson
Hello do yu have any specific questions about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does a person who removes property from a deceased persons house without the consent of the Executor and then treats it as their own by selling it commit theft even though they claim that permission was given to them by the deceased person to have the item of property in the event of her death
No. If the deceased person gave permission then that is not theft even if it was a conditional permission. The difficulty may be proving that permission was given but presuming that is accepted then this is not theft. Theft arises when you take something without permission. Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Jo, but his seems to state that any person I know who dies I can take any of their property and claim that I had permission. I would have thought that ownership of my mothers property would automatically pass to me on her deathPaul
That is an evidential issue that refers to the point I made above.I cannot agree that all permissions must be run past the Executor for the reasons above.
The issue of permission would be scrutinised for credibility.In fairness, a person may make many such promises to a person who they felt was close to them or owed a favour.If a person with no connection at all to the dying person just removed items then the argument that they had permission wouldn't be very credible.
I think the point the police are making is that they can't disprove their claim of having permission which seems to be correct.It might be that anybody could do that. The point is that the police can't disprove the defence.
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