How do we get our things from an estate when the next of kin refuses to give them to you.

Asked over 2 years ago - Las Vegas, NV

My Cousin just passed away She did not have a will Her father was the next of kin That had nothing to do with her for 26 years. We have tried to contact him several times But he refuses to talk to us. My cousin had several family heirlooms That belongs to our side of .the family We would like to get those back How can we do so. Is there a way That we can contest the probate. All we want is what belongs to us. She lived in Tennessee and we live in Las Vegas what can we do

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Charles C. Rainey

    Contributor Level 5


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As an initial observation, if the decedent lived in Tennessee, then I would assume that the probate court exercising jurisdiction over her estate is also located in Tennessee. Even though you live in Nevada, you will need to take action in the same probate court that assumed jurisdiction over your cousin's estate.

    I suspect that you will need to hire a local probate attorney in Tennessee to assist with this.

    The process varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically there is some sort of process whereby you can either file a motion or a petition with the probate court challenging the standard intestate succession (intestate succession is the formula used by the court to determine who receives the possessions of a person dying without a will).

    However, keep in mind that time is a factor. If you sit on this too long, you could lose your rights to intervene in the probate process. Depending on local rules, you usually have a window of time from the date that probate opens to intervene and state your case.

    Good luck.

  2. Jonathan Craig Reed


    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . You need to discuss this with a Tennessee lawyer as the decedent was apparently a resident of Tennessee. I suspect the Tennessee lawyer will tell you that the property goes to whoever gets it under the laws of Tennessee when someone dies without a will. But do check with a Tennessee lawyer.

  3. Robert E. Millsap III

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Tough situation. I am curious, why do yo say that the heirlooms that belong to your side of the family? There may have been some spoken agreement or understanding between the parties about it but courts really struggle with that because of proof problems. If these are the type of assets where possession determines ownership, then your cousin should have had a will that said they were yours.

    Does any family member have a relationship with the dad. Maybe they can come to some accommodation.

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