What to do About Property That Disappears from a Westchester Estate
It is just an unfortunate reality that, when someone dies or is dying, there are sometimes people that will decide to use that for their own personal financial gain. The number of ways that someone may steal from an estate is apparently endless. One way could be pressuring the decedent before their death through undue influence or threats to change their will. Another is more insidious and involves just standard stealing, such as emptying a bank account or going into the decedent’s house and emptying a jewelry box. If you believe there is missing property in an estate that you are dealing with, there is something you can do about it. The first step is to speak with a skilled and experienced Westchester County, New York estate attorney.
Stealing from an estate can happen in countless different ways. A safe deposit box may be emptied by someone with access, credit cards run up before they get shut down, bank accounts emptied or personal property rifled through by someone with access to the decedent’s house. Sometimes a joint owner of property or business will keep the executor from accessing records to see what the estate’s share actually is. This may not even happen after death, but when the decedent is on their deathbed or in the weeks before their death.
While sometimes this property simply disappears, with no ability to get it back, there are plenty of other times that an executor or administrator will know, or at least suspect, who took the estate’s property and can do something about getting it back. In Westchester County, New York, there is something called a “Turnover Proceeding”, which is designated to deal with those who steal property.
A turnover proceeding would happen upon the petition of the Executor or Administrator to the Surrogate’s Court and would name the property believed to be taken and who is believed to have taken it. There are various procedural issues involved in such a case, such as making an inquiry into where property went, and like many other civil cases, there can be a jury trial involved and a judgment that can be collected like other civil judgments if a person is found to have taken estate property or even to remove someone who moved into the decedent’s home illegally. Personal and real property are not the only things that are subject to turnover proceedings, financial records and cash are also subject.
A turnover proceeding is not something that should really be handled without the assistance of an experienced Westchester County, New York estate attorney. While there are procedures in place to take a person to court who took property from an estate, there could be ways to take care of a matter with attorney assistance so that it can be resolved quicker and with less costs. You are also more likely to get the estate property back with attorney assistance in a turnover proceeding.
If you wish to speak with a Westchester County, New York estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.