What rights does an only child have to their father’s possessions?

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2011

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What rights does an only child have to their father’s possessions?

My son’s father died 3 weeks ago. My son was his only child. My son’s father lived with his dad who wants to either sell or trash all of my son’s father’s belongings. Can I stop him so that I can keep it all for our son? My son’s grandfather wants to pocket the money for himself which is fine with me since I only want the clothes, hats, bible, pictures, etc. There is a car that my son’s father bought less than 2 years ago but he put it in his dad’s name for insurance purposes. Can I do anything about that for my son?

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there was a will, then the belongings of the decedent will pass according to that will; i.e. your son's father's belongings go to whomever was specified to get them in the will. If there was no will, then the belongings or property will pass by intestate succession, which is the rules for when there is no will. It appears that in Kentucky, that means the property would go to any surviving children, and only if there are no children, to a parent. There are some problems for you son, however:

1) First, to assert his claim, he'd have to bring a legal action, which may not be worthwhile.

2) Anything belonging to his grandfather, the grandfather may keep--it's not part of your son's fathers' estate. From what you write, it appeas the grandfather could show he's the owner of the car (or rather: since he's on the title, it would be *very* difficult and potentially costly to show he's not); there may be other belongings (furniture, for example; since it was the grandfather's home, the presumption will be that furniture there belongs to him unless proven otherwise) that he can claim, too.

Therefore, it may not be worthwhile trying to establish a claim on behalf of your son.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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