Can an exceuter of an estate get items that were given to me before they took over the estate?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an exceuter of an estate get items that were given to me before they took over the estate?

I was given TV’s worth about $1800 by the owner and friend before she passed away. I have had them for a little over 2 months. Now the sister is executer of her estate and wants them back. I

have text messages saying that she wants me to have them but not from the owner. A friend that was there at the time. When I was there she said I could have the TV’s in front of 2 witnesses. Can the sister sue me to get them back or can I keep them?

Asked on January 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

She can sue you in the sense that anyone can sue anybody else--the courts do not "prescreen" lawsuits to make sure they are viable. But to get the TVs back, she would have to be able to prove, whether by documentary evidence or testimony, that they were not given to you pre-death; and you could of course present your evidence to the contrary. Only if she could convince a court that they were not given to you could she recover them or their value from you, since if they were gifted, they belong to you: a gift, once given, cannot be ungiven and belongs to the recipient.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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