Can I remove items from parent’s house that belong to me after they died? 24 Answers as of November 21, 2012

I removed items from parent’s house after they died; these items belonged to me while I was living there now my sister who is the executor of will threatened to have me arrested.

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Martinson & Beason, PC
Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
If those are your items, you can remove them from the house. The police and Sheriff's typically don't get involved in estate disputes over property or assets.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/21/2012
John Simmons
John Simmons | John Simmons
Yes, you may remove YOUR items. Your sister can prevent you from removing items that belonged to your parents. That's the question. Are the items in question YOURS or did they belong to your parents? Until that gets sorted out to the satisfaction of you and your sister (perhaps a court order determining ownership of those items will be necessary), I do not think you should try to remove them from the house. Since personal items do not have certificates of titles, as automobiles do, or deeds, like real estate does, then possession is a big part of the proof of who is the owner. If you were living in the house at the time your parents died, then you have stronger proof that these items might be yours than belonging to your parents. However, the mere fact that you were not living there at the time does not mean that you cannot prove to the judge that they are your items, merely being stored by you in your parents home after you moved out.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 11/21/2012
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
She can threaten all she wants. If she challenges you, however, the difficulty may be proving ownership of the items. She will have the same problem, however. This is not a criminal matter, under any circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/21/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
No you cannot remove items from the home. You will have to prove the items are yours and not estate property.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/21/2012
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
It depends. This is a bit sticky so rather than answering your question I really think it is important for you to consult in person with a Trust Attorney. They will get all of the information and guide you properly. We need more information in order to answer this question and make sure you are properly advised and legally protected. Make sure you get a consult to assist you with this question and your potential rights to your parent's estate/Will.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/21/2012
    Law Offices of Frank D. Granato
    Law Offices of Frank D. Granato | Frank Granato
    In general, no. You need to consult with the executor of the will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Craig Epifanio, P.A.
    Craig Epifanio, P.A. | Craig Epifanio
    It is supposed to be done through probate, however, you can't be criminally charged for taking your own things. Trespassing might be another matter though. You should try and talk this over with the PR so as to avoid any future problems.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    You need to be careful. Your sister's job is to marshal the assets of the estate. If you have property there, you should petition the court, in the absence of an agreement with your sister, to recover your property.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Why was your stuff there? If really your property, then you have every right to them.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If they actually belonged to you, there is no problem. Your sister's power as executor only extends to those things owned by your parents.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If the items are mentioned in the will, you could not remove them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You can take them if you can prove they were yours and not your parents'.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    If you can prove that they are your property, you are entitled to have them and she cannot have you arrested. The problem is usually that you cannot clearly prove that they are yours. So, you have to make a claim in the probate and present the judge with your proof. Most families do not have a problem with this unless the property is very valuable.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Your personal property is not part of your parents' estate, so as long as you can show that the property was owned by you even though it was in their possession, you should have the right to remove it.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    I wouldn't worry about being arrested - police don't usually get involved in family squabbles. If you have proof that these items were yours (receipts of some kind or witnesses who can support that the items belonged to you), then you should be fine. Once a probate is opened, it is possible that the judge could question what you did with the personal property, but again, if you have proof the items belonged to you, there shouldn't be an issue.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Pay your sister no attention. You may have to account for those items in a probate proceeding by introducing evidence as to when acquisition occurred, form where, their value, if you do not convince her those items were yours to start with. The jails are already full and the sheriffs do not have time for this type of dispute. I suggest you obtain probate attorney representation, as I see a legal fight coming.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    You will need to go to Probate Court and prove you own the items .
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If you have proof that the items belonged to you, i.e. purchase receipts, title documents, etc. you do have the right to remove items from your parents home. Otherwise, the personal representative have control over the estate and that includes items in the home, she can claim they were stolen and you have taken them. However if the items are not on the inventory that was required (which you should have gotten because as the daughter of the decedents you are an interested party and should get a copy of the inventory) you may have more of a chance.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    Yes, you may remove items that you own. Of course, the executor might dispute ownership.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    If you legally entered the house and took only items that you can prove are yours, your risk is small. If you are unable to prove ownership or if you broke in illegally, you may need an attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    If you can prove that the items are yours you can take them. Just show your sister proof that items belong to you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Grant Morris Dodds | Mark Dodds
    As long as you did not commit a "breach of the peace" by breaking into the home, e.g. you were in the home with a key you had or some other means than breaking and entering, you are entitled to take any property that belongs to you on the premises. Of course, if your sister claims the articles take are not yours, then you may have to contest the matter, but peaceably retrieving property which you reasonably believe to be yours is not a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    I don't think your sister will be successful at seeing to your arrest. If the items belonged to you when you lived there you should be able to take them. Your sister should be careful of threats such as the ones she made - she could end up being liable for wrongful arrest and/or false imprisonment (should you be taken into custody).
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The executor is legally responsible for all the assets of the deceased's estate. By removing items from the home without the knowledge and approval of the executor, you may be acting illegally. However, you do have a right to your own property. You will need to be able to prove to your sister that everything you take actually belonged to you prior to your parent's death. If you left those items at your parent's home years ago and never made an effort to reclaim them, a court may consider the items abandoned and belonging to the estate at this point.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/20/2012
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