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General Laws

Section 3-709. [Duty of Personal Representative; Possession of Estate.]

(a) Except as otherwise provided by a decedent’s will, every personal representative has a right to, and shall take possession or control of, the decedent’s property, except that any real property or tangible personal property may be left with or surrendered to the person presumptively entitled thereto unless or until, in the judgment of the personal representative, possession of the property will be necessary for purposes of administration. The request by a personal representative for delivery of any property possessed by an heir or devisee is conclusive evidence, in any action against the heir or devisee for possession thereof, that the possession of the property by the personal representative is necessary for purposes of administration. The personal representative shall pay taxes on, and take all steps reasonably necessary for the management, protection and preservation of, the estate in the personal representative’s possession. The personal representative may maintain an action to recover possession of property or to determine the title thereto.

(b) Whoever injuriously intermeddles with any personal property of a deceased person, without being thereto authorized by law, shall be liable as a personal representative in his own wrong to the person aggrieved.

(c) A personal representative in his own wrong shall be liable to the rightful personal representative for the full value of the personal property of the deceased taken by him and for all damages caused to the estate by his acts; and he or she shall not be allowed to retain or deduct any part of such estate, except for funeral expenses or debts of the deceased or other charges actually paid by him and which the rightful personal representative might have been compelled to pay.

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