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UponBlueWaters

Nick-nacks; inventory list; executor fraud

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From Michigan: My brother was living with my aunt when she died. On her deathbed, she hand wrote a will that replaced an older will. She left her home, car, some CDs and a particular picture to my brother, and said in her will “the girls can have the dishes (antique family dishes from a once famous hotel) and “nick nacks.” So, here are my questions:

1) There are female cousins to us. Are they considered “the girls” in addition to me and my three sisters? (I believe she was referring to only my sisters and me at the time she wrote the new will to differentiate us from our brother.)

2) What are nick nacks in a legal sense in Michigan law?

3) My aunt had many valuable pieces of jewelry including rings left her by her sister, my other aunt. They are sentimentally valuable to me, as well valuable in the financial sense. Are these nick nacks since they are not left specifically to my brother?

4) My brother is executor as appointed by probate court. He did not list specific items on the form he submitted but, instead, simply wrote in $500.00 as the value of the nicknacks; the dishes were not listed either. Is this fraud if the court doesn’t know of her personal valuables?

5) There was a court hearing for the signing off on a $100,000.00 check to her main church in Boston on August 31, 2018; Also, I believe, to divide the nick nacks and deliver them to the interested heirs or decide how to sell them and send the resulting money to the heirs.  

6)  Is there any recourse to this hearing for the rest of her family? (We sisters have not responded in writing or in appearing at the hearings due to great family angst during the final years of our mother’s life. We hardly know the female cousins, one in Arizona and one in Michigan.)

What does this all seem to mean? 

Thank you. 

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Valuable pieces of jewelry are not knick-knacks.  If you have no inventory of what items were in her home, how are you going to prove what was there?

 

Did the executor follow correct procedure by sending you a copy of the will?

 

You need to hire the services of a probate attorney in whatever city that the probate court is located, to represent your interest and your sisters' interest in this estate so you all can receive what you are entitled to.  Even if you can't attend the hearings in person, your attorney can attend on your behalf.

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On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

There are female cousins to us. Are they considered “the girls” in addition to me and my three sisters?

 

We have no way of knowing what your aunt meant by "the girls," but that term would normally be used to refer to one's children.  Are the cousins to whom you referred your aunt's children?  If so, I think most courts would interpret it to refer to them and not to you and your sisters.

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

What are nick nacks in a legal sense in Michigan law?

 

The term is not defined in any statute.

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

My aunt had many valuable pieces of jewelry including rings left her by her sister, my other aunt. They are sentimentally valuable to me, as well valuable in the financial sense. Are these nick nacks since they are not left specifically to my brother?

 

I do not believe any court would interpret "nick nacks [sic]" to refer to valuable jewelry.

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

My brother is executor as appointed by probate court. He did not list specific items on the form he submitted but, instead, simply wrote in $500.00 as the value of the nicknacks; the dishes were not listed either. Is this fraud if the court doesn’t know of her personal valuables?

 

Fraud?  No -- at least without a lot more information.  Perhaps it was an honest mistake.  In any event, when you raised this issue with your brother, what response did you get?

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

There was a court hearing for the signing off on a $100,000.00 check to her main church in Boston on August 31, 2018; Also, I believe, to divide the nick nacks and deliver them to the interested heirs or decide how to sell them and send the resulting money to the heirs.

 

Given your description of the handwritten will, I don't really understand the first part of this sentence.  As for the second part, assets do not get divided during court hearings.  However, since it sounds like you weren't in attendance at this hearing, doesn't that tend to bear on the answer to your question about "the girls"?

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

Is there any recourse to this hearing for the rest of her family?

 

I cannot even guess what this question might mean.

 

 

On 9/7/2018 at 9:55 PM, UponBlueWaters said:

What does this all seem to mean? 

 

It sounds to me like the probate is proceeding such that you won't be receiving anything.  It also sounds like you're operating on limited information and a certain measure of guesswork, which makes it nearly impossible for folks such as us, who are dependent on you for the relevant facts, to provide you with any useful feedback.  If you believe you're entitled to something from your aunt's estate and your brother the executor disagrees, then I suggest you retain the services of a local probate attorney.

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