Salem, VA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia

Q: Do I have to return my husband’s inherited property to his siblings after his death?

My father in law passed in 2013. His home and belongings stayed empty for 2 years before my husband, our young children and me bought out his siblings for the home. Before us moving in, the siblings and husband, split up their fathers belongings. My husband passed away in 2020 and the deed to our home is solely in my name. Now, the siblings are demanding my husband’s portion of the belongings, including heirlooms. Our minor children want to keep my husband’s portion. The siblings threaten to sue me and do not believe our children (also, grandchildren of their father) should have the items. They have shown up numerous times stealing items on our property and calling the police on me for not allowing them inside our home. What are the chances of them winning a lawsuit against me if I do not comply with their demands?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: As I understand the facts, your father-in-law passed in 2013, and the personalty in the estate was divided among the heirs and the estate closed. Around 2015, you and your husband bought the house and its contents, and they belonged to him or both of you. Your husband passed in 2020, and now his siblings are demanding return of things that once belonged to your father-in-law and now belong to you. Further, they are entering your home and taking your property upon some claim of right.

Get a lawyer to write them a demand letter and a no-trespass notice giving them 10 days to return your property before you swear out a complaint for burglary, breaking and entry, and theft -- depending on the specific facts, and informing them that they are not permitted on the property without specific authorization and supervision. Do not ask for damages in the same letter or at the same time.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.