What to do if my personal items were taken by my stepchildren?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my personal items were taken by my stepchildren?

My late husband and I were going through a divorce when he passed. His children were to keep paying on the house. However, they wouldn’t so it put my credit on a down spiral. Also, they cleaned the house out, including a lot of my personal belongings. Do I have any recourse here? This happened 2 years ago.

Asked on May 8, 2018 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) His children did not have to keep paying for the house unless they--not your late husband but his children themselves--agreed in a written contract to keep paying. If they did, you could potentially sue them for "breach of contract" to enforce its terms against them. But without their contractual agreement to pay, they could stop at any time.
2) If they took your personal items, your recourse would be to sue them. You could sue either for a court order that those specific items be returned, or sue them for the monetary value of the items--suing just for the money is procedurally easier, and would let you sue in small claims court so long as the total value is under the small claims limit. You would have to prove that those items were yours, not something they were given by or were inheriting from your late husband.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption