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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12088
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My sister and I are joint executors for my mother's will

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My sister and I are joint executors for my mother's will (who lived in Scotland). We both live outside of the UK. After my mother's death, my sister went to my mother's house without informing me and took many valuable items back to her country of residence. What do you suggest I do to make the division of property fair and transparent?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
When will I get an answer to my question? Can you give me an estimate?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The will has not entered probate/confirmation yet - FYI. Please give me an estimate of the time needed to respond. Thank you

Thanks for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland. Do you have a note of the items your sister took and a valuation of them?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
By way of context, my sister lives in US and I live in Africa (Ethiopia). She went to the house without informing me and took what she liked (things of value and sentimental items) and donated the rest to charity. When I showed up at the house this past week, it was empty, save for some clothes I will bring back to donate in Africa. She has taken jewelry, silver cutlery, coins and my mother's marble sculptures (she was an artist). She has taken other things but since the house was cleared and don't know what she disposed of and what she took home.
The marble sculptures hold huge sentimental value for me and they are also valuable. I would have to take a guess at the value - GBP 2,000? I hope I have answered your question and look forward to your guidance. Thank you

There is little point in trying to enforce return of the items. That would cost too much in comparison to the the value and you would have to sue in the American courts. All you can do is ensure that you are given credit in the estate for the value of your share. You can't do much more than that. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Dear JGM:
Thank you so much for your helpful advice.
Just one more question: estate has not gone for confirmation yet. The paperwork requires my signature and I am wondering if I should not sign until my sister hands over my share of the items. To note, the cost of shipping heavy marble sculptures from the US all the way to East Africa, is considerable. (It would have been cheaper and easier for me from Scotland to Africa). Do you think it is advisable not to sign the final paperwork for confirmation until my sister settles up with a fair division? Please advise and thanks again.
Best and thanks again.

Yes, if you are the first named executor you can refuse to sign and that might bring her to the negotiating table.

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