Art given to us

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Art given to us

My Mother-in-law moved her art collection to our house over 15 years ago. She told my wife it is hers, not to sell it, and give to her grandchildren in our will. Now my Motherinlaw died. My Sisterinlaw is now saying the art is part of the estate since she found a lists over 70 paintings that my MIL wrote. The list is not attached to the will. We only got like 40 paintings. There is no mention of the art in the will. The lawyer for the estate says we need to prove my MIL intended to give the art to us. Who owns the art? It was given to us verbally.

Asked on May 16, 2009 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Well, the lawyer for the estate is simply looking out for someone else's best interest.   If the art is NOT MENTIONED IN THE WILL, is not incorporated by reference through a separate writing (i.e., the list doesn't say this is for all her children or to be made part of the will she has), and it has been stored in your home all these years, it most likely is yours.

So, what you need to do is hire an attorney yourself if you plan to fight this and make a motion to the probate court to basically rule on the status of the ownership of these paintings.  Try www.attorneypages.com and then check the state bar of Pennsylvania to see if you can check his or her history.


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