Do I have any right to a few childhood items in my father’s old house if it has now been put into my brother’s name?

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Do I have any right to a few childhood items in my father’s old house if it has now been put into my brother’s name?

Father put in nursing home. Brother’s name now on house. Would like to retrieve a table and childhood photos. He will not return calls or email to anyone in family. I live in SC and he lives in FL. What type of lawyer would I need and would they need to be licensed in FL?

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the items were unequivocally yours--e.g. it's your table and photos, just stored there--then you have a right to get them. If however they are your father's, you do not have a right to retrieve them, without either his permission or, if he is incompetent, the permission of his guardian or someone with power of attorney over his belongings; they are his, and you can't take them. After he passes away, his belongings will pass by will (if he has one) or by intestate succession (if he does not) and you may therefore get some of them; but you will only have a right to those belongings which you inherit in one fashion or another. If you believe your brother has improperly had the house put in his name and taken control over your father's belongings, you may have grounds to fight it; you should speak with a trusts and estates attorney, one who litigates contested matters, who is admitted to the FL bar.


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