What are a child’s rights to their deceasedfather’s possessions?

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What are a child’s rights to their deceasedfather’s possessions?

I recently found out that my father died 2 1/2 years ago. He ran off with his current wife; I’ve been searching for him for the past 6 years. His wife didn’t inform me that he died and won’t respond to my letters. I’d like to sue for family photos from my childhood. Can I do that in small claims?

Asked on August 15, 2011 Nevada

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  I would seek consultation from an attorney in your area on this matter and your rights under the law.  Generally speaking, a child has various rights to inheritance of their father's estate that does not pass by operation of law to others (such as joint property both real and personal with a spouse, properly designated life insurance policies, etc.) and you need to figure that issue out here as well.  Now, these are photos of his life that were his prior to the marriage, correct?  Then they may not be considered joint property but separate property and part of his estate to which you may be entitled.  If he had a Will - or if he died without a Will and his estate was probated in any way - then the matter is on file in the probate court in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  Good luck.


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