One of the most important duties of an executor or trustee is to gather the assets safeguard and secure them to keep those assets from walking off. Somehow, after the death of a person, items have a tendency to walk off or otherwise disappear.
Recently, an article in TMZ revealed that the bullet-dented pendant worn by Tupac Shakur when he was shot in 1994 surfaced at a memorabilia dealer, Moments In Time. The bullet dented the gold and diamond pendant, making it uniquely identifiable. Tupac died in another shooting in 1996.
It’s not clear how the seller obtained the pendant. But, now it is for sale. Tupac’s estate has said it will file suit to collect the pendant. Here’s a link to the article in TMZ.
It is appropriate for the estate to attempt to collect the pendant if it had been unlawfully removed from Tupac’s possession, either his home or his person. Of course, if Tupac gave the pedant away during life, it would not have belonged to him at death and the suit by the estate would not be appropriate. This is a factual matter.
The difficulty in establishing the facts underscores why it is essential for the executor or trustee to secure the home as soon as possible. This is particularly important upon the death of the surviving spouse of a couple or in other circumstances where others might have access to the home. Often, extended family and health care workers might have keys to the home. It’s essential for the executor to change the locks and secure the home and its contents. Then the contents can be disposed of as provided in the estate plan.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555