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Personal effects

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  • Personal effects

    When my relative died she left her share in their jointly owned property to her partner of many years and the residue of her estate to me, naming us both as executors. Her partner now has sole ownership of the property as laid out in the Will and intends to continue to live there.
    An issue has now arisen with non-beneficiary family members regarding house contents and the disposal of personal items such as clothes. They have stated that my relative’s partner only has the right to keep goods he can prove he has paid for and has no right to dispose of anything (6 months after death he has started to donate clothes to a charity shop). These same family members helped themselves to personal items in the days following her death, before the executors were appointed, however we let this slide so as not to create problems.
    My question is who has legal rights to these items? It may seem petty but this is causing angst and upset to the partner who is still grieving.
    Thanks in advance.
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  • #2
    Well nothing belongs to those who were not beneficiaries, so it is nothing to do with them and really they should return the items they removed early on.
    The owner of goods and chattels that were the property of the deceased now belong to you, and if you don't object to the bereaved disposing of his late wife's clothes I see no problem


    • #3
      Hi Emarald23,

      The chattels may actually have been left to her partner, so do check the Will. Often where a share in a property is left to a partner the chattels or house contents are also left to the person living there. Generally this would be sensible, otherwise you potentially could be removing cookers fridges etc from a residential home which sort of defeats the object of leaving the half share to the partner.

      If there is no clause relating to her personal chattels then as Des8 said they become the responsibility of the executors and ultimately the residuary beneficiaries. I would suggest that it is perfectly reasonable to dispose of someone's clothes particularly when you are trying to get over their loss. These other relatives who are not beneficiaries should back off in my opinion and allow her partner time to grieve!

      Unless these people are residuary beneficiaries or they are to receive a specific item/sum under the Will that the executors are not dealing with they have no rights whatsoever to interfere.

      Here if you need any support.
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