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Monday, January 28, 2019

Must someone who borrows something return it to their estate after the lender dies?

It turns out the popular, snarky remark “don’t get your panties in a knot” might actually be appropriate to describe a recent New York City estate administration nightmare. The estate of a father is reportedly suing the dead man’s adult son—described as a “high-end underwear tycoon”— after Junior allegedly failed to return an expensive painting that he reportedly borrowed from his dad in 2012. 

 The pair reportedly had a falling-out at some point after the loan of the painting and prior to the father’s death. The father was an avid art collector who reportedly had a habit throughout his lifetime of lending expensive pieces from his “extensive” art collection to his children and museums for exhibition. 

Serving as executor or administrator of an estate comes with a fee for performing the job as well as a fiduciary duty to collect, account for, maintain, and safeguard the value of all of the estate’s assets, among other duties. Breaching that duty can result in the executor or administrator being held liable for damages for the losses the estate and its beneficiaries incur. In this case, the estate administrator is the surviving spouse of the deceased and stepmother of the underwear tycoon. 

Upon requesting the return of a painting valued at $30,000-$50,000 from a museum that had reportedly borrowed it through the son the estate was advised that the museum had allegedly returned the painting to the son several years earlier. Then, upon the alleged failure of the son to produce the painting upon the estate’s demand for same, the estate had no alternative but to seek legal action to recover the painting for the benefit of the estate and its beneficiaries.

If you need help creating or modifying in estate plan, or administering in an estate, the Law Offices of Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all matters of estate planning, estate administration, and real estate law.


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