Can family member demand items four years after mother’s estate was settled?

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Can family member demand items four years after mother’s estate was settled?

My step father says my mothers will left me the house but said nothing about the contents and they are his by right of survivorship. However, by verbal agreement, he let me keep the items I wanted and he took the rest. Can he change his mind 3 years plus after estate was settled and take whatever he wants? I say no because the contents were according to him not part of the will and should be mine since they have been in my possession for the last four years.

Asked on May 8, 2009 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The first thing that jumps out at me here is the fact that your step father hasn't given you a copy of your late mother's will.  I don't practice law in Indiana, but the state's probate law says that you have to have been given notice of the probate, by certified mail, so you should know where the court is.  Even without the notice, you should be able to get a copy of the will, from the court in the county where the house is, for a small fee.  You should also look for, and get a copy of, your step father's closing statement for the estate.

Under Indiana Code 29-1-7.5-7, any claim against you for property of the estate had to be filed no later than a year after that closing statement (or three years after your mother's death, but the deadline is whichever of the two possibilities is later).

I don't know why your step father is doing this, but it doesn't sound right to me.  If he pushes this, you should see a lawyer who is experienced in wills and estates, and you can look for one here:  http://attorneypages.com


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