After a loved one’s passing, do not remove items from their home
Emotions run high after a loved one passes away, even if you knew for a long time that their passing was coming. You may want to return to their home, which could even be your childhood home, to collect sentimental items. You want something to remember them by and you want to make sure that you grab a few items that you feel are special to you.
From an emotional standpoint, this certainly seems like it would be a wise move. But you need to be very careful doing this, as you could be in violation of the law.
What are you supposed to do?
Generally speaking, the estate still needs to go through probate. The will needs to be read and the instructions in that will need to be followed.
To do this, the person who was named as the estate executor is supposed to gather all of the assets that the other person left behind. They then check the will to see who is supposed to get those assets, and they distribute them as intended.
If you have gone in first and taken items for yourself, you’ve essentially stolen from the estate. You may even have taken items that were supposed to go to someone else in the will. This can lead to a very serious estate dispute and it can cause a lot of issues. You are far better off waiting until the will is read and getting the items at that time, even if it means that you can’t get them immediately after the person’s passing.
Understanding what steps to take
This is just one reason why you need to be very clear on exactly what steps to take at this stage in the process, and it’s wise to understand all of your legal rights and obligations.