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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2249
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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The caregiver of the estate has removed property from the estate

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The caregiver of the estate has removed property from the estate and claimed that there was no need for the estate to go through probate. We have have now found that it does need to go through probate. The caregiver who is not family has removed and taken most of the property that was of both financial and family historical value. What should be out first step of action now.

Hello and Welcome! Thank you for allowing me to be of service to you. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) I will provide you with honest information and not necessarily to tell you might be hoping to hear.

I am very sorry you are dealing with this situation. A first step is to deliver a written request to the caregiver to return the items explaining they must go through probate, he/she had no legal authority to take the items and if the items are not returned he/she could be subject to both criminal and civil liability.

Also, in these situations, a local attorney should be retained to open up a probate, have a personal representative appointed and that personal representative representing the estate with the help of the lawyer should begin to place demands on the caregiver to return the items.

If the property is not returned you may file a police report for stolen property. In addition, if the caregiver is licensed I suggest contacting the licensing board regarding the action of the caregiver. If the caregiver no longer has the items, they need to generate a list of all the items taken as they will owe the estate the value of the items. Whether they want to pay without being sued in civil court or as part of a criminal restitution if the district attorney decides to file charges will be up to them but the fact of the matter is they stole from the estate and the items or cash value needs to be returned to the estate.

Part of the probate will be to determine the value of the items at the time of death regardless of whether the items are in the estate possession or not (as the caregiver may have already sold or pawned the items) and to the extent the items can't be recovered, the caregiver should be liable for the value of the items taken and not returned.

I apologize that this was probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information.

All my best & encouragement.

Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. I only receive credit when rated 3 or higher. If for any reason you feel that a low rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns by clicking the "reply" tab.

All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.


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