If my father passed away and my stepmother received everything, shouldn’t I at least be entitled to the belongings that he owned before their marriage?

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If my father passed away and my stepmother received everything, shouldn’t I at least be entitled to the belongings that he owned before their marriage?

I referring to family heirlooms.

Asked on November 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it stands. There are so many questions that need to be answered here before any guidance is given.  First, may I ask:  was there a Will left by your Father or did he die "intestate" - with out a Will?   If he left a Will then he should really have provided for this with in the paragraphs and the bequests.  What I am thinking is that everything was held jointly between them: the house, the bank accounts, etc., and that she got everything automatically (by operation of law) when he passed.  If you can prove that certain items were his prior to marriage - pictures of an antique piece of furniture or jewelry in photos pre-dating the marriage - then you may be able to have some leverage in asking that they be returned "to the family."  Get some advice from an attorney in your area who can ask the necessary quirestions here.  Good luck.


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