How does a business determine the

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How does a business determine the

I managed a storage facility near Boise, ID. I was recently informed a tenant, who has boat stored in my facility, passed away last month. We have now been contact by 2 daughters who want to remove the boat and an ex-wife who says she has a title. We are going to ask for a copy of the Death Certificate to determine the next of kin. However, how does a storage operator determine who is the rightful person to take possession of a vehicle.

Asked on March 2, 2019 under Estate Planning, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

One of them has to provide you court authorization stating that they are the executor (if there was a will) or personal representive/administrator (if no will) of the estate--i.e. something from a court showing that they are the person authorized to collect and ultimately distribute (to whomever inherits) estate assets. If someone shows up with such authorization, take a copy of it for your records and let them have the boat--what they do with it next is their problem. But don't give it to anyone, even "next of kin," without court authorization: it's not your job to decide who inherits or ultimately gets the boat. This authorization is commonly called "letters testamatentary." If somoene shows with what is claimed to be court authority but you are not 100% sure, call the court clerk's office and ask to verify it.

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