My uncle passed away and the his neice has sold his peesonal belongings is that legal

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My uncle passed away and the his neice has sold his peesonal belongings is that legal

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Asked on April 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he had a will and she was the executor or personal representative and selling his possessions was in keeping with the will's provisions (e.g. instead of leaving specific items to designated people, the value of his estate was to be left to some person or persons--then selling the items, to then distribute the money to those receiving it, was proper), then this was legal.
Or if there was no will but a court appointed her the administrator or personal representative, and she sold his belongings to distribute the money to those who would inherit under "intestate succession" (the rules for who gets what when there is no will), it again was proper.
But if she was not executor, administrator, or personal representative for the estate, and/or if she kept the money hereself when she was not the sole heir under a will, it was improper. 
Since you stand in the same relationship to your uncle as his neice does, you are a person who may inherit from him. That means you'd have the right to file a lawsuit or legal action to challenge what she has done, if you feel it worthwhile for you to do so. Unfortunately, a lawsuit is the only way to challenge it, so you'd need to either be comfortable brining this action yourself, or would need to hire an attorney to help you.


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