Personal representative is claiming property belonged to deceased that didn’t

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Personal representative is claiming property belonged to deceased that didn’t

My unmarried partner died several month ago leaving behind her tangible
personal property in my house where we both lived together. Her adult son, who is
the sole beneficiary, was appointed by the court as personal representative and so
I recently allowed him to come over to start collecting her possessions. However,
now he is claiming that several items of furniture in the house belonged to his
mother and are thus part of the estate. These are pieces that I purchased many
years ago solely with my own funds and did not belong to her. How is a dispute
like this settled? What if neither party can show proof of ownership, such as a
purchase receipt?

Asked on July 21, 2016 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It's settled by filing a legal action in surrogates or probate court, and asking the court to determine who owned what. If there is no proof of ownership, it will be decided based on witness testimony: you will testify as when, how, etc. you bought the items, the son will testify as to why he thinks they were his mother's, and the judge will decide who is more credible or believable.


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