How to Retrieve Personal Items of Deceased Son

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to Retrieve Personal Items of Deceased Son

Son passed away at 26. Went to the police department today on orders from the
detective working the case who claimed we would be able to obtain a copy of
the police report and a release for his vehicle that they had put in storage as it
had some personal items in it. Upon arrival we were informed we needed power
of attorney in order to do that. As we can not get power of attorney from
someone who has passed away, how do we proceed to get the equivalent of
that and get the car and report released to us? We will be getting a death
certificate this week.

Asked on January 8, 2019 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You need authority from the probate court over your son's estate, commonly called "letters testamentary," though your state may have a different name for this. One of you needs to be named by the court as personal representative or administrator (either term may be used) for the estate; that person will then be able to retrieve his belongings.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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