22 CFR 72.14 - Nominal possession; property not normally taken into physical possession.
(a) When a consular officer take articles of a decedent's personal property from a foreign official or other persons for the explicit purpose of immediate release to the legal representative such acton is not a taking of physical possession by the officer. Before releasing the property, the consular officer must require the legal representative to provide a release on the form prescribed by the Department discharging the consular officer of any responsibility for the articles transferred.
(b) A consular officer is not normally expected to take physical possession of items of personal property such as:
(1) Items of personal property found in residences and places of storage such as furniture, household effects and furnishings, works of art, and book and wine collections, unless such items are of such nature and quantity that they can readily be taken into physical possession with the rest of the personal effects;
(2) Motor vehicles, airplanes or watercraft;
(3) Toiletries, such as toothpaste or razors;
(4) Perishable items.
(c) The consular officer should in his or her discretion take appropriate steps permitted under the laws of the country where the personal property is located to safeguard property in the personal estate that is not taken into the officer's physical possession including such actions as:
(1) Placing the consular officer's seal on the premises or on the property (whichever is appropriate);
(2) Placing such property in safe storage such as a bonded warehouse, if the personal estate contains sufficient funds to cover the costs of such safekeeping; and/or
(3) If property that normally would be sealed by the consular officer is not immediately accessible, requesting local authorities to seal the premises or the property or otherwise ensure that the property remains intact until consular seals can be placed thereon, the property can be placed in safe storage, or the legal representative can assume responsibility for the property.
(d) the consular officer may decide in his or her discretion to discard toiletries and perishable items.