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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I, along with my husband and father are the executors of my

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I, along with my husband and father are the executors of my mothers will. We have probate. There are no personal bequests and my father is the sole beneficiary. One of my sisters has taken three valuable rings that belonged to my mother. Are we within our rights to ask for their return and how can we proceed if she refuses. If she had asked she would have been given one without question. My father is 81 and bewildered that she would do this. Any advice would be appreciated

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

  1. May I ask what evidence if any you have that your sister has done this?
  2. Has anything been put in writing to your sister to date?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She visited at the weekend. The rings were in a purse in a box of items relating to mum's funeral. They were there two weeks ago and missing yesterday. No one else has access or visited. The items were in the room where my sister stayed.Nothing has been formally put in writing to her in relation to the will but she has been informed of progress by email and verbally. Thanks

Thank you. The actions of your sister technically amount to theft And Any of the executors could choose to involve the police However, you are likely to wish to deal with this matter Without recourse to the police at least in the first instance. The initial step is to contact your Sister perhaps by phone or in person and discuss the issue with her and explained that the rings belong to your father and must be returned. The next step or if you prefer the initial step would be to serve a formal notice upon your sister Requesting and requiring her to return the jewellery within seven days failing which the executors reserve their rights to issue a claim in the County Court and involve the police as you prefer.

Jewellery belongs to the executors of the will by virtue of the administration of estates act until they are passed to your father as the beneficiary at which time they belong to him personally.

A potential weaknesses that you have limited evidence against your sister beyond the logical probable assumptions you have made and this may not be sufficient to guarantee success in the County Court such claim would be basically one persons word against another. It may therefore be necessary to involve the police in order that they can interview your sister and carry out a search of her property if necessary.

In the hopefully unlikely scenario where you are unable to make a recovery due to the above your father may wish to advise your sister that he intends to reduce her entitlement in his will either so as to ensure parity between you all as siblings and/or to reflect the distress her actions have caused him. This threat alone may give your sister pause for thought as to whether she wishes to return the rings voluntarily.

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