can i get my personal items

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can i get my personal items

I lived with Rick for 5 years and he died suddenly. His ex wife has locked me out of the house. All I want is my clothes and personal items. Do I have any rights?

Asked on November 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your belongings--those things bought by you with your own money, brought by you to the relationship, and/or gifted to you--belong to you and she has no right to keep them from you. (She has a right to require you to schedule to pick them up in advance at some mutually agreeable time--you can't just come over whenever you want to get them--and to accompany you while you retrieve them to make sure you are not taking anything not yours, but she *must* let you get your belongings.) The way to force her to let you have your items is to sue her for the value of them (ideally in small claims court, if the value of your items comes in at or under the small claims limit): that lawsuit can then be resolved by her allowing you to retrieve your belongings. Unfortunately, a lawsuit is the only way to get your items (or if she disposed of them, compensation for them) if you and she cannot work it out amicably.


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