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When a mother passes away without a known will, who gets her assets/belongings?

Scottsboro, AL |

I am the only child my mom had. She passed away July 2012, and it isn't known if she had a will or any life insurance. Prior to passing away in the hospital, she was living in a nursing home for several months, before that she was living with me. But before that she was living with a close friend, and most of her personal belongings are at the friends house (who isn't allowing me access to anything). Also another friend she met in the nursing home has her personal belongings my mom had in the nursing home, and won't allow me to get those. My mom also has 2 grandsons & 1 great granddaughter.My mom has some of my own personal belongings I gave to her from her parents when they passed away. They belonged to me. What, if anything, can be done? This just seems very wrong.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

You need to retain an attorney to assist with these matter. While the initial consultation may be free or a flat fee, the amount amount work needed to compel return the property may cost more than the items are worth.

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Posted

I'm very sorry for your loss. Given the facts above, you should petition the probate court for the town/city where your mother resided to become the Administrator of your mother's estate. You will then have the legal authority to collect your mother's assets, including her personal belongings. It would be advisable to retain an attorney to assist you with this process. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you! I'm not for sure where her actual address would be, she was in the nursing home and the hospital she passed away in, out of state, just over the state line. I live in Northeast Alabama, she passed away in Tennessee, and was in the nursing home in Tennessee prior to passing. Would that be her actual residence then? I do appreciate your help and answering so quickly. my mom was my best friend, and this is killing me that these people are so cold hearted to keep my mother's mementos, & personal belongings from me and her only grandchildren. She had promised several of her belongings to me and her grandsons when/if she passed away. One being a very expensive baby grand piano that my mother bought and paid for herself. And several other expensive furniture items, jewelry, clothing, electric wheel chair, brand new Kindle Fire, and possibly cash that she had saved in the nursing home.

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Posted

Unfortunately, it's not a cut-and-dry question. If she moved to the nursing home more than a year ago based upon her own decision to do, then she'd be a Tennessee resident. If a family member moved her there without her knowledge, she'd probably still be considered to be an Alabama resident. If you can't decide, you're probably better off probating in Tennessee since the death certificate was issued there and will show her residence being there.

Asker

Posted

She was moved to the nursing home because she was a paraplegic, the ALACARE Hospice center is the ones that set the whole thing up after finding out from our local hospital from CT Scans and x-rays that she had a spinal cord injury causing the paralysis. And I would not be able to physically care for her, being that I have 2 rare neurological illnesses also. I know its quiet confusing, and I apologize. She was aware of being moved to the nursing home tho. So I am assuming it would be better off probating this in Tennessee. Am I correct? I don't really know where to begin or who to contact to do this either. This is all new to me. My mom was very young when she passed away, only 57 years old. thank you again for your time.

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Posted

oh, no, 57 is way too young. I'm so sorry. Yes, given what you've said, I'd probate this matter in Tennessee.

Posted

I believe you have asked this a number of times, now. I agree with my colleagues. You really need to involve an attorney to assist you. Dealing with personal property is always complicated because these assets have no "title" and proving ownership can be very difficult.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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