How do you get your father’s property back if it was taken by other relatives but you are the sole survivng heir?

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2011

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How do you get your father’s property back if it was taken by other relatives but you are the sole survivng heir?

I am legal guardian of my granddaughter who will be 18 in about a month. Her Dad left no Will but always told everyone that she would get all his possessions when he died. He only had some sentimental stuff from his parents and a few things he collected. Value less than $300. Her aunts went into trailer and took everything and gave my granddaughter what they wanted to give her. He did have some paperwork that she would like to get also.  Can they be arrested?

Asked on June 10, 2011 under Estate Planning, Indiana


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since your granddaughter is her father's sole surviving heir, she would be the beneficiary who would inherit the items you mentioned from his estate.

When your granddaughter turns 18 in about a month, she could sue her aunts for return of the property they have wrongfully taken.  Your granddaughter's remedy in her lawsuit would be a constructive trust.  A constructive trust requires the person, who is wrongfully in possession of the property to return it to its rightful owner. 

The aunts won't be arrested.  This is a civil case and not a criminal case.


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