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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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