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Sister took family property

Can I sue my sister for taking family heirlooms from the family home, which were sold some time ago. She also took my football medals as well as keepsakes of my Mother and Father?

Before I can give legal advice on this, I would say to this listener – before he goes to a solicitor he should try to seek resolution through a family relative or friend because taking a case like this to law can cause a rift in the family for a generation. 

 

On the legal side, there are two aspects – in relation to the property of the estate, when a person dies the legal estate vests in the President of the High Court and you then extract probate or letters of administration under the seal of the High Court from the Probate Office.  This entitles the executor or administrator to wind up the estate by authority of the court.  In relation to the sale of the family heirlooms and keepsakes of his parents, I would say that if these were sold without a probate being extracted or without some other lawful justification then his sister is in legal default and can be sued by the person entitled to wind up the estate. 

 

Regarding his football medals, these belong to him personally and he can sue for their return or compensation in lieu. 

 

In relation to all of the assets there may even be criminal responsibility on the sister but again I reiterate the importance of handling this discretely even though the listener may feel angry and mightn’t be in the mood for discretion. 

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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