a difficult situation


PDA






supraneurotoxin
July 28, 2007, 12:35 PM
hmm. how to begin.

Earlier this year, my grandfather lost his battle with cancer. Rather abruptly I might add, without the opportunity to make final arrangements. he had enough time to appoint my aunt executer of his estate, entrusting her to carry out his final business.

since then, she has been doling out possessions to the rest of the family as she see's fit, with the exception of his firearms.
a colt single action 45(his father's), a black powder revolver(don't know the make, only that it isn't a repro) his 1911 from WWII, a little beretta 32, a browning pump action 12, a ruger red label OU 12, to name a few.

she insists on turning them in to the police dept, or having them destroyed, or some way or another rendering them inoperable, as she would like to do with all firearms everywhere.

I have two uncles who are gun enthusiasts, and the three of us have agreed that we don't care which ones go to who, as long as they stay in the family. nothing we say has swayed her decision to date, and apparently we don't have any legal recourse(as far as I know). she has the only keys to his house, and actually went so far as to have ADT installed to keep people out.

I hate to see perfectly good firearms get destroyed, no matter who's they are, but to see ones handed down from my grandfather's father suffer the same fate is to much to bear.

If anyone has any ideas to help me try and salvage our family heirlooms, I'm open to any and all suggestions.

If you enjoyed reading about "a difficult situation" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
whitetiger7654
July 28, 2007, 12:39 PM
Contact a lawyer. The paperwork she has putting her in charge could have been done wrong or a lawyer could find a loophole. Then you could get someone else put in charge instead.

ravencon
July 28, 2007, 12:45 PM
If your grandfather appointed your aunt executrix in accordance with the laws of the state and if he was was legally competent to do so and was under no undue influence then you have little recourse but persuasion.

I doubt if you want to spend the money and the emotional energy needed to dispute his testamentary capacity. If you can't persuade your aunt that your grandfather treasured these firearms and that they should stay in the family as a way to honor his memory then you'll have to come to the terms with their loss.

Dannavyret
July 28, 2007, 12:45 PM
Get a lawyer. She has no right to destroy your Grandfather's WWII heirlooms, obviously she doesn't care about the history of this country. You should be firm with her that maintaining his memory of service far outweighs her selfish concerns.

Black Knight
July 28, 2007, 12:48 PM
Get a lawyer is the first move you need to do. As executor she stills has to follow his wishes not hers. If she is not then a court may be able to appoint a new executor to do so.

wdlsguy
July 28, 2007, 12:54 PM
IANAL, but you should be able to get a copy of your grandfather's will from the probate court. Your aunt has a fiduciary duty to the heirs named in his will. The heirs might start by complaining (immediately) to the attorney handling the probate. Ultimately, it might be necessary to take her to court. :(

Mauserguy
July 28, 2007, 01:03 PM
I've seen this before. I'm not talking about the guns, but rather they executer running amuck over the estate. This is a classic case. Some people get a little power and go crazy, often stealing for themselves or their favorites. Mark my words, when this is over, some of the heir will not get what was due to them.
Good luck.
Mauserguy

supraneurotoxin
July 28, 2007, 01:08 PM
the problem is, there IS no will.
my grandfather was the proverbial pack rat, with a house, garage and barn stacked floor to ceiling with stuff. 5 vehicles in the driveway, one is roadworthy. his wishes, though painfully evident to the family(my aunt included), aren't documented. I don't think so anyway.
I'm completly unknowledgeable on this subject. is that possible, for her to be exectuter with out any kind of will? i'm not sure if there is a lawyer involved, I haven't heard of one...does there have to have been one? where can I access this kind of paperwork/information if she won't share it with the rest of us?

Blackbeard
July 28, 2007, 01:10 PM
Definitely at least consult with a lawyer. Since he died intestate, it's up to the court to decide who gets what, not your aunt.

Noxx
July 28, 2007, 01:17 PM
Ugh, that's just heartbreaking, on several fronts.

Get a lawyer, and if nothing else you should be able to get a CO to prevent her from disposing of anything until a case can be heard.

Wish you the best, I'm sure whatever happens will try your patience sorely.

akodo
July 28, 2007, 01:23 PM
a person becomes executer of the estate either because a will makes them that way, or because a probate court appoints someone in the absence of a will.

She cannot just step forward and declare herself as eldest sibling or whatever as being in charge.

As others ahve said, talk to a lawyer. Often, finding out that the executor is giving away or destroying items of value can get it changed. If there is any sort of will, even a brief hand written document that declares her executor, then look for that same document to also include a very vague instructions.

"I want my daughter Jane to be in charge of doling out my stuff to my family when I am gone"

that's often enough for jane to be declared executor...however, if you notice even though the instructions are vague, they are specific enough to disallow giving stuff to charity and/or the police.



Second, I would approach the local police department. Tell them that your grandfather has some heirloom guns with great personal and historic value, plus some have quite substantial monetary value, but exactly who they belong to now is up in the air, that one anti-gun relative may try and get the police to take and destroy the arms.

might also ask them 'if this all shakes out and the anti gets to be executor, and turns the guns over to the police department, I know you normally destroy them, but do you also donate historic peices to local museums?'

zoom6zoom
July 28, 2007, 01:28 PM
Try this angle - if these are of any value, she is acting against the interests of the heirs. It's just like a corporation squandering assets that would otherwise increase the shareholder's value basis.

Vern Humphrey
July 28, 2007, 01:29 PM
As executor of the estate, she has a duty to preserve and protect the estate, for the benefit of the heirs. By destroying or reducing the value of property in her care, she is defrauding the other heirs -- just as she would be if she stole the guns.

TX1911fan
July 28, 2007, 01:59 PM
If there was no will, then she is not executrix unless the court appoints her. Fight her in court and when evidence comes out that she wants to destroy valuable property rather than distribute it, she may not make it as executrix any longer.

supraneurotoxin
July 28, 2007, 02:00 PM
so if I understand this correctly, I should first go to a lawyer who can sort out the paperwork(which in all honesty confuses the crap out of me), and he should be able to find out if this situation is salvagable?
I wonder if my aunt will change her colors if she finds out we are serious enough to consult legal council.. that would be ideal.

whitetiger7654
July 28, 2007, 02:24 PM
i'm not sure if there is a lawyer involved, I haven't heard of one...does there have to have been one?

You would know. Go talk to a lawyer immediately! She may destroy the stuff today! Call her and tell her she can't just take over without paperwork to back it up. Tell her you are talking to a lawyer and will prosicute if necessary.

So as I stated in the beginning get a lawyer.

Pilgrim
July 28, 2007, 02:35 PM
she insists on turning them in to the police dept, or having them destroyed, or some way or another rendering them inoperable, as she would like to do with all firearms everywhere.
It seems to me if she hasn't done it already she is using the guns as a means of jerking you and your uncles around.

Pilgrim

lanternlad1
July 28, 2007, 03:37 PM
Have her give the guns to a LEO friend who tells her they will be destroyed. He gives them to you, then divide them amongst yourselves. What she doesn't know won't hurt her.

Old Fuff
July 28, 2007, 04:03 PM
By all means talk to an attorney that specializes in probate matters as soon as possible. But at the same time see if your Uncles and any other potential heirs will go along with you. If it becomes necessary for the lawyer to take your Aunt to court, or to get an injunction preventing her from destroying or disposing of any property, the more parties he represents the stronger his case. His first move, given the circumstances, may be to ask the court to order a full inventory of your late grandfather's property be made. Lacking specific instructions in a valid will, your Aunt cannot legally dispose of, or distribute any property until such an inventory is made - this being to insure that each of your grandfather's heirs gets a fair share of the estate.

Kimber1911_06238
July 28, 2007, 04:05 PM
I really feel for you. I know how I would feel having precious heirlooms destroyed or rendered inoperable. My heart goes out to you, good luck and I hope the three of you are able to take possession of his guns and continue to pass them on to future generations.

Geno
July 28, 2007, 04:07 PM
I agree with Old Fuff.

She has been asked to give away the belongings, not to destroy them. I would have a lawyer all over the situation. Her bias against firearms obviously was not shared by your grandfather. Best of luck.

Doc2005

DDrake
July 28, 2007, 04:09 PM
My friend had a problem like yours. Apparently one of the daughters (of the dad that died) wanted to give all these suits of armor to a museum (Dad collected old-armor). She had a lot of connections with the local museums, and apparently even told some board members that she was going to give it to them. What was more obvious to the son, is she simply didn't want him to have them. There was no will.... she basically just took over and thought she could do whatever because she was the primary care-giver during the last year of her father dieing. Apparently, being the one taking care of him and the son working in Europe, got on her nervs .... and she was determined to make the son "pay" for not helping out as much as she liked.



It went to court, the judge quickly gave all the suits of armor to the son. His reason is there was no will, the daughter had no legal right in deciding who gets what, she intended to remove it from the family (this was the main reason), and the son had a sincere reason for keeping the armor (he wanted to keep it, have it in his house, past it down to his sons).




The simple fact is, if there is no will that specifically dictates what the person wants with an item ...... NO family member can just "give it away" and remove it from the family. The objects will ALWAYS go to the person trying to preserve them.


Your aunt will loose in court. Get a lawyer, make sure she does not destroy them .... and the Judge will quickly give them to you knowing there was no will and she plans to "give them away".

supraneurotoxin
July 28, 2007, 04:21 PM
It seems to me if she hasn't done it already she is using the guns as a means of jerking you and your uncles around.


that thought had crossed my mind....
she irritates me. in the beginning I was concerned about salvaging our relationship, but at this point regretfully that is out the window.
just out of shear curiosity if it was possible, do we have the right to simply walk off with them? even if we get a lawyer to straighten this all out, would that be legal, just so we know they are safe? or have I not provided enough info to answer that question?

whitetiger7654
July 28, 2007, 04:35 PM
While walking off with them wouldn't be the best idea it would keep her from destroying them. But you would have to gain access to them without breaking and entering.

When my stepfather's wife passed away there was a nasty split in the family and the combined family owned a lot of very expensive construction equipment. His kids "stole" the equipment and after a long drawn out court proceeding they ended up keeping it. Because possession is 9/10th's of the law as they say.

JamisJockey
July 28, 2007, 04:36 PM
While walking off with them wouldn't be the best idea it would keep her from destroying them. But you would have to gain access to them without breaking and entering.

When my stepfather's wife passed away there was a nasty split in the family and the combined family owned a lot of very expensive construction equipment. His kids "stole" the equipment and after a long drawn out court proceeding they ended up keeping it. Because possession is 9/10th's of the law as they say.

INAL....
Without a will, how will she prove that the guns exist or that you took them?
Food for thought....

supraneurotoxin
July 28, 2007, 04:51 PM
I called one of my uncles and filled him in on the idea of involving a lawyer. his feeling is, the guns aren't worth jepordising his relationship with his sister over, and I got the basic idea that I would be the black sheep if I went ahead with this plan of action.
unfortunatly, I think my involvment with her is beyond repair anyway, for a few other reasons not related to current events. my hope is that the idea of involving the court system will be enough to get her to give them up. beyond that, I can only hope my uncles will understand my "crusade", so to speak.

hmm... a family I'm on the rocks with anyway, or salvaging our heirlooms and carrying out my grandpa's wishes?

Old Fuff
July 28, 2007, 05:02 PM
No one has any right to walk away with anything, and that includes your Aunt. If you did such a thing the situation would become far worse, and it's possible criminal charges might be brought against you and/or any others involved.

This is why you (and if possible any other heirs) need to talk to an attorney, and quickly! Given the circumstances you have described I believe he or she would apply to a court for an emergency injunction that would freeze your Aunt in her tracks. He might also request that the court appoint a different executor, and that your Aunt be held personally responsible for disposing of any property contrary to law and/or court rules. The primary strength of your position is that she proposes to distribute (or destroy) property that rightfully belongs to the combined heirs - without specific instructions in your grandfather's will to do so.

Usually the correct procedure in this sort of situation is to inventory all of "grandpa packrat's" belongings (including firearms) and then sell them at auction. The money would then be divided between the heirs. If the Aunt objected concerning the guns she could receive cash from the estate equal to her share of the gun's value.

If an attorney representing you (and possibly other heirs) does what I think he or she will do, your Aunt will be served with an injunction that freezes things in place, pending a hearing. That in itself may be enough to take the wind out of her sails. I suspect that rather then hire her own lawyer and fight it out in court she’ll wash her hands of the whole thing – which is what you want.

In the meantime, do nothing but consult with an attorney. Monday morning is not too early...

whitetiger7654
July 28, 2007, 05:39 PM
Ok so your family doesn't want to take it to court. Then I suggest doing what someone else suggested. Find an LEO that can help you. Have her give the guns to him to "destroy." Then just have him give them to you.

Or you could take it to court yourself. But what right do you have to the items? I don't know how the courts would rule for a grandchild.

wdlsguy
July 28, 2007, 06:07 PM
I don't know how the courts would rule for a grandchild.
Excellent point. What state was your grandfather living in when he passed away? Was this your father's father or your mother's father? Is he or she still alive?

BBQJOE
July 28, 2007, 06:49 PM
If you REALLY want them, why not offer her an extraordinary amount of cash for them
Everybody loves money.
Money can even make people go against their deepest principles.

Vern Humphrey
July 28, 2007, 07:00 PM
If you REALLY want them, why not offer her an extraordinary amount of cash for them
Everybody loves money.

There's something fundamentally wrong with having to buy what already belongs to you. And if the guns were not intended for him, then it would be stealing.

Best advice, get a lawyer. Have the court order her to preserve the estate, including the guns, then distribute it fairly.

mrsig
July 28, 2007, 07:19 PM
The guns have value and must be appraised and valued as a part of the estate. If she has them destroyed or turned in, she will have to pay the estate back for their value. If there is no will, the estate should be divided evenly between the children. I am not an attorney, but I believe the above to be the case.

- Sig

wahsben
July 28, 2007, 07:49 PM
I would speak with an attorney and tell her that she must not destroy the guns and they belong to the members of the family and that you will take her to court if she does not give them to the family members that want them.

PershingRiflesC-7
July 28, 2007, 07:59 PM
Having served as an executor of an uncle's estate with one of my cousins, I got an interesting education so I will share some with you. However, you should bear in mind that I was not in NY and laws do vary but general principles apply in most states.

First, as many other posters have counseled you, a lawyer is an absolute requirement in this matter. If you really value the guns and that the estate be properly settled, get a probate lawyer on Monday morning. Of course, this does require that you are ready to live with the resulting family difficulties so you have to decide your path and proceed accordingly.

Second, by law, your grandfather died intestate, that is without a will, at least to the best of your knowledge as presented here. The probate lawyer will explain the specifics as they apply to NY law but, generally, it means the court will divide the property according to a specific formula contained in state law as regards being related to the decedent (your grandfather). One of the functions of the law and the court at the time the estate is entered into probate is to appoint an executor. Since you are the one with the lawyer doing the legwork, you could request to be the executor or you could allow the court to name one. That could end up being your aunt or even the lawyer you have retained.

Third, there are two reasons for probate settlement of estates: title and taxes. Title relates to the authority to legally pass title of the decedent's posessions to the proper person. This is especially important when homes and other such real property are involved as the person receiving the property needs a proper title in order to be able to legally hold the property. Taxes are the interest of the state in all these matters and the lawyer is best situated to explain that detail to you with respect to NY state law and federal law.

From what you have related in the thread, your aunt does not have any legal authority to dispose of any of your grandfather's property, either personal (the guns) or real (home, land, etc.). The ball is in your court so you must choose to do the right thing or the expedient thing. If you choose the expedient thing and let your aunt proceed as she desires, your main revenge may come when she cannot dispose of the real property (if any) because she tried to do an end run around the law. This will send her to the courts anyway in order to get a declaration as an executor at which time the court would require an accounting of the estate and she will be standing there to say she just gave it away as she pleased. It will be a moment of sweet revenge so don't miss it!

BTW, IANAL so all this is worth exactly what you paid for it but a little time and money at a lawyer's office next week would be worth the price of the education.

bsf
July 28, 2007, 09:17 PM
I only read the OP, so if I am repeating someone’s advice, I apologize. If it is as important to you as it would be to me, simply tell your aunt that if she does not keep the guns functional and “in-the-family”, your relationship with her is over. It would be most convincing if your uncles joined you in this proclamation. If this is not compatible with your paradigm, ignore my advice.

22_Shooter
July 28, 2007, 10:47 PM
Wow, that is horrible. Your aunt needs to know that these are not just guns, these are family heirlooms. Things that should be passed down through family. I hope everything works out for you and you save those firearms from being destroyed.

geekWithA.45
July 29, 2007, 12:13 AM
I was an executor of a will, and the probate was nasty.

Know that the executor has a legally enforceable fiduciary responsibility to the estate.

This means she can take no action that intentionally, or through negiligence reduces the VALUE of the estate. Executors are REQUIRED to expend due dilligence in preserving the value of the estate.

Guns are valuable, both monetarily and as heirlooms.

She cannot simply turn them in/throw them away/whatever because she doesn't like them.

I think you can insist on them being appraised, and advise her that she will be held accountable for their value to the estate.

Oh, and get a lawyer to reality check me, 'cause I ain't one.

TacoMalo
July 29, 2007, 12:44 AM
I say get a lawyer and get the guns distributed to "family" as stated by your late grandfather, he didn't say "destroy my house, my car, my clothes and my guns" He wanted his belongings passed along to his family and that's what is important. I've been trying to get my father to make a will for a long time now for just this reason, I have two crappy bro-in-laws that have an eye out for his tools 95% Snap-On and his guns roughly 20-30 rifles and pistols. I don't think they deserve a dime from him and I know he feels the same way but it's not on paper. So get that lawyer and I'm hoping your situation works out for the best. good luck man.

RPCVYemen
July 29, 2007, 12:50 AM
the guns aren't worth jepordising his relationship with his sister over,

Your uncle made the right call. Listen to him.

Mike

ksnecktieman
July 29, 2007, 01:17 AM
You have a choice to make. You can get a lawyer, and fight for the guns, or you can stand back, and allow your aunt to dispose of them. consult with a lawyer, give him fifty bucks for a consultation if needed. Then you will know where you stand. A nasty letter from a lawyer may be enough to make her pass the guns around the family. It may have to go to court. Talk to a lawyer, and then count up the cost in family good will and financial and historic value to you. And choose the way you wish to deal with it. Reality demands that you consult a lawyer first.

Nomad101bc
July 29, 2007, 01:24 AM
Unfortanetly most decent attorneys bill out around $300 an hour. Better to tell her you wont demand any assets except the firearms try to point out you already own firearms she is accomplishing nothing by denying them to you. If need be find any sort of leverage you can against her i.e. get a private eye to look up her records and such it will cost about same as a lawyer.

Another important thing is anti's know absolutely nothing about guns so tell her she can have the firing pins removed so they cant fire. Then just buy new ones its not free but its a whole lot better than the alternative.

RPCVYemen
July 29, 2007, 01:03 PM
Unfortanetly most decent attorneys bill out around $300 an hour.

And note that the estate will almost certainly pay for her lawyer - at least that's been true for my relatives that have been executors. I don't know if the estate will pay your legal costs if/when you win. Whether the estate pays only for her lawyers, or both her lawyers and your lawyers, at $300/hour those guns could get real expensive.

And I'm pretty sure that there's no way for you to prevent the destruction - I think that all you could do is force her to take the market value of the weapons out of her share of the estate. She gets to divide up the property into equal shares, by market value. I don't think that you can sue about individual items unless they are bequeathed to you - if you are an heir, you may be abel to sue to force an equitable distribution of assets.

Let us know what you find out. I am not even sure that you have any standing to sue - is your father/mother (whoever is the child of the grandfather sill living)?

At any rate, I would be very interested to hear what you find out from the lawyer.

Mike

supraneurotoxin
July 29, 2007, 01:31 PM
good morning folks!

I'm in a much better state of mind today, having had a discussion with my aunt. I mentioned that I had been doing some research, and consulting with "knowledgeable freinds"(you guys). I asked her if she knew that she can't legally dispose of any property, if she did she would be held financially responsible and would have to pay back the estate. I'm not completely sure if I explained that correctly to her, but I think I did ok.
anyway the end result was her backing down, and saying "you know what? whatever. you guys can do whatever you want with them. it's not a big deal, jeez."
I think this was best case scenario, because I never really had to threaten to get a lawyer, I just explained my understanding of applicable laws, which are laws I think she knew about, but didn't know that I knew.
I am slightly bothered that months of trying to convey grandpa's wishes did nothing, but me mentioning legal obligations pushed her over the edge. but my recently inherited guns will help me get over it:D
hopefully today, or as soon as my two uncles and I can get over there, we will divy up the guns. I will take some pics and post them up so you guys can see what you helped rescue.
I appreciate everyone who contributed, you guys really helped to defuse a situation that's been on my mind for months.

Old Fuff
July 29, 2007, 01:38 PM
Usually a first consultation with an attorney does not cost $300. You explain the circumstances of your case, and they tell you what your chances are, what options you have, what the probable cost will be if they precede, and then ask for a retainer if you decide to go ahead. They cannot represent you without some retainer, as that is what hires them.

If the Aunt is distributing Grandpa’s property without specific bequeaths in the will she may be in trouble right now, the guns not withstanding. An attorney may find some serious problems with the will’s format. If Grandpa’s signature was not witnessed and notarized it may not have any legal standing. There are a lot of issues here that you can only address through the advise of an experienced lawyer. The sooner you do this the better.

This was written before I read post #44. I hope that things work out, but frankly I hope both you (and maybe the Uncles and Aunt) still talk to an attorney. I don't think this Aunt has any idea about what she may be getting into, and for that matter, getting you into. For example, the estate is probably liable for taxes, and those have to be accounted for, as they are likely based on the total value of the estate. The attorney's fees can be paid by the estate. In this day and age, and particularly in New York, this sort of thing cannot be handled between yourselves.

GlowinPontiac
July 29, 2007, 01:41 PM
Great to hear it worked out!

igpoobah
July 29, 2007, 02:01 PM
I knew this motley crew was good for something!

Congrats, glad to hear it!

whitetiger7654
July 29, 2007, 03:41 PM
I'm glad we could help. Most people don't want to come within 100 feet of a lawyer. I'm glad the little talk helped and I'm glad we could help get you guys there.

Plus now if all works out maybe working out the family relationship will work.

PershingRiflesC-7
July 29, 2007, 06:01 PM
It is all well and good that you got her to stop and think but you need to read and heed Old Fuff's post above. Important questions as to proper transfer of ownership of guns under NY state law remain to be answered as well as tax questions. As I pointed out in my original post, if there was any real property, there will need to be a probate court involved for the title to transfer properly. You need to begin to think beyond the moment and the items you care about as it is not just about the guns.

Good luck to you!

supraneurotoxin
July 30, 2007, 10:57 AM
Hi folks,
sorry it took me so long to post back, I wasn't near a computer yesterday evening.
as it turns out, we can't pick up the guns yet, until "all the paperwork is in order". I was informed(rather bitingly, I might add) that everything was being transfered legally, and yes, they needed to be appraised first.
so it seems as if everything is going the way it's supposed to. She seems to know what needs to happen to tranfer the guns, so perhaps she knew she couldn't dispose of them the way she wanted to, and just wanted to make us sweat. Perhaps the point of this whole fiasco was just to have something to hold over our heads, a control issue.
I believe I will still consult a lawyer to make sure I'm going about it the right way. though we don't get along, she's handled everything else fairly. as long as she's also doing it legally.

pharmer
July 30, 2007, 11:53 AM
SNT, if it comes down to "taking turns to pick", make sure you get that Colt SAA on your first go round. It's got history in addition to the other obvious value. Joe

Kentak
July 30, 2007, 12:07 PM
The guns aren't yours, don't think about having them walk away. If other family members aren't willing to use persuasion with grandma, then give it up. It's not the end of the world.

Then again, grandma could have an unfortunate accident.

JUST KIDDING!

K

Neo-Luddite
July 30, 2007, 12:35 PM
Reason No. 891 why gun nuts should disperse their collections as they wish prior to their death.

I hope it works out for you--and keep it out of the courts.

Gaucho Gringo
July 30, 2007, 10:41 PM
My advise is to get a lawyer pronto. My dad died over 28 years ago without a will. I am still upset with my mom for not giving his guns and my grandfathers guns to me, She sold them to somebody else a few years after his death. I did not pressure her at first on giving me the guns as I assumed she would let me have them and that was my mistake. Take action immediately.

Aguila Blanca
July 31, 2007, 12:00 AM
I'm completly unknowledgeable on this subject. is that possible, for her to be exectuter with out any kind of will? i'm not sure if there is a lawyer involved, I haven't heard of one...does there have to have been one? where can I access this kind of paperwork/information if she won't share it with the rest of us?
An executor cannot do anything without the approval of the judge of probate. First off, that's where you can find a copy of whatever document appointed her executor ... and you can then read what (if any) instructions were provided or limitations imposed.

If the judge of probate doesn't have anything appointing her as executor besides her word, ask him to put everything on hold while you and the other heirs engage an attorney to show the Court that auntie isn't doing what the deceased would have wished.

By the way, while nothing is universally true, in general judges of probate are not synpathetic to one loose cannon challanging a will, but when an entire family stands up and says "Whoa, Nelly" the judge usually pays attention.

akodo
July 31, 2007, 01:31 AM
one thing for you guys with big collections, if you have an inventory list, also add who you would like to get that gun. If you don't put a little tag on each one with a person's name on it.

RPCVYemen
July 31, 2007, 09:51 AM
... ask him to put everything on hold while you and the other heirs engage an attorney to show the Court that ...

And then watch the bulk of the estate be divided between her lawyers and your lawyers - with a reasonable chance you'll lose in the end.

Mikd

Grey54956
August 8, 2007, 05:13 PM
Probably best to leave the lawyers out of it, unless she is being truly difficult or underhanded...

You and your pro-gun relatives might decide to offer to purchase the firearms from the estate, or to count their value towards your inheritance. Lawyering up will only make things get ugly fast, but it may be the only way to go.

kellyj00
August 8, 2007, 06:24 PM
if she's in charge, she's in charge. If I want to, I can take all my guns and turn them into the police department...and yes, that would make a bunch of you angry...but there ain't a thing you can do about it, because it's my stuff and it is a FREE country.

If I were you, I'd try to convince her that those are heirlooms and not weapons. Tell her that you would like to see them go to her kids, or to someone in the family, not necessarily you. Be sure that you are getting the point across on this one, that these aren't entitled to YOU but that they are property of the entire family and anyone who is nostalgic should gain access to them. Be sure you remind her that there she has no legal responsibility to those guns if she gives them away, as the government doesn't hold a database of all the serial numbers for 1 (common misconception among non-gunners), and remind her that people kill people, not guns.

If all that fails, tell her you'll pay her for them. Tell her to take them down to the pawn shop to get them 'appraised' if she wants and you'll double that amount. No matter what the pawn shop offers her for those guns, doubling it won't hurt anyone.

Don't be forceful, like I'm being now. Remember, this is your aunt, she owns the firearms, it's her call and no matter what happens she's still kin. Wouldn't hurt to even tell her that. If you go after this like a rabid badger in a henhouse she's going to think that you're up to no good, and she'll destroy them just to clear her conscience.

Vern Humphrey
August 8, 2007, 06:30 PM
if she's in charge, she's in charge.
But she's not in charge. Even if she is legally the executor of the estate, she has no right to destroy valuable property that rightfully belongs to all the heirs.

If I want to, I can take all my guns and turn them into the police department...and yes, that would make a bunch of you angry...but there ain't a thing you can do about it, because it's my stuff and it is a FREE country.

You can take your guns, but you can't take my guns. Laws that protect the rights and property of others is what makes it a free country.

wdlsguy
August 8, 2007, 06:31 PM
Remember, this is your aunt, she owns the firearms
The aunt doesn't own the firearms, the estate does. The aunt (as executrix) has a fiduciary responsibility to the heirs.

XD Fan
August 8, 2007, 06:32 PM
They are not her guns. They belong to the heirs of the estate.

Houston Tom
August 8, 2007, 07:40 PM
First I am sorry for your loss,

Was there a will, it varies by state even if there is anexecutor but no will then there in nothing to execute. It could be ordered to probate and the entire estate sold off, usually family gets first shot, you might have to buy them back but then the money tht you spend is divided up. good luck.

Autolite
August 8, 2007, 09:49 PM
Perhaps you could emphasise the importance of the firearms being of historical and sentimental value, then maybe suggesting that you would be willing to make a contribution towards the cancer society in appreciation of her generosity ...

cassandrasdaddy
August 8, 2007, 10:43 PM
at the risk of redundancy get a lawyer i was executor of my moms will and it got nasty with me against my lawyer sis. i am executor for my exboss/mentors will and it will be real interesting he left his kids 10 bucks each outa a multimillion dollar estate. i recently saw a friends inheritence shrink form 250 k to 85 k with no documentation when he chose to let it ride when his aunt "handled everything"

another okie
August 9, 2007, 12:15 PM
If there is no will and no court order, she's not the executor. You can't just decide for yourself to be executor, nor is a piece of paper from the decedent enough to give someone legal authority over the estate.

What's more, depending on the state in which your uncle died, she may not be the sole heir. When someone dies without a will state law determines who inherits what. Many states split the estate up among children as well as the spouse.

If she's agreed to your and your gunnie relatives having the guns, I would suggest making up a simple document like a bill of sale and having everyone closely related to your uncle sign it, indicating who gets which gun and that everyone is in agreement.

Many estates don't require probate because bank accounts and real estate and cars are often in joint names, and usually no one cares enough about miscellaneous personal property to justify a court action.

If you enjoyed reading about "a difficult situation" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!