Q: My father passed away without a will and he is survived by my sister and me. What are our rights to his personal items?
My father is predeceased by his parents and has no spouse. His home was signed over to the state of PA in order to pay for medical care, but his belongings remain in the home. After his death, other family members including his sister, brother and step mother have gained access to the home and taken personal items that my sister and I would have wanted. What are my sister and my rights to my father's belongings and what can be done to recover the items already taken?
A: Unless the state of PA would claim the personal articles, they would potentially pass to you and your sister. In order to get the remaining articles or the ones that were that were improperly taken, however, you would have to open an estate, and the estate would then have to sue. It would obviously be costly. Furthermore, if there are other debts potentially facing the estate, the articles would have to be sold to get cash to apply against the debts. In that event, you could never get them anyway.
Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer
A: If the state did not claim the personal property and hold an auction or otherwise try to sell that property it could be claimed by you and your sister. You would have to file petition to open estate and then you could recover items in house and possibly from your relatives. You should meet with local attorney to discuss costs of estate admin and see if worth effort
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