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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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