When a loved one dies, what you probably want to do is take time out to mourn them. Yet, a death in the family can create a lot of extra work, both legal and physical.
While the bulk of the legal work should fall to the person named to execute the estate, other family members may need to get stuck in sorting out the deceased’s house. You may need to tidy it to host grieving relatives and friends visiting for the funeral. Or you might need to sift through years of clutter to find vital paperwork. Yet you need to take care not to remove items.
One of the executor’s first tasks is to list all the deceased’s assets
The home may have many items that appear worthless, but they still need to go on the list. Firstly because they might be worth more than you realize, secondly because they may have sentimental value for someone, and thirdly because that is what the law demands.
What if you know you are due to get a particular item?
Let’s say your dad told you he’d leave his camera gear to you. Can you take it now? No. First, it needs to make it onto the list, second, he might have said the same to someone else without telling you. You need to see what the estate planning documents say.
If it looks like you will not receive what you thought from a deceased family member’s will, or believe someone else has removed items from the house, consider legal help to examine your options.