My father gave me a personal object before he died. Then he passed away and the estate won’t give it to me because they are saying a few things…First it wasn’t listed in his will (but I have a notarized letter from him before he died) second they are saying it didn’t meet the criteria in a form of a claim and third they are saying it didn’t have two witnesses signing it. My letter from him was made prior to his will but his will does not mention anything about the gift. Except if there is any thing left of the gift how I should proceed.
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:
In order for your father to have transferred the personal object to you during his lifetime, he must have intended to make the gift at that present time, he must have delivered the item to you and you must have accepted it. It is possible the letter from your father indicates the intent to transfer. Generally, if the gift is beneficial to the recipient, which I will assume it is here, the
“acceptance” requirement is presumed. The issue is whether or not the gift was “delivered.” If there was no physical delivery of the object, a substitute for this requirement can be a written document indicating an intent to make the gift, a description of the item, which was signed by your father, and delivery of the writing to you. A writing that makes a gift during someone’s life does not need to meet the strict requirements that a will does, such as having two witnesses. Generally, if these requirements are not met, the object would be property of the estate and would be distributed based on the will. However, if there was no delivery of the object during his lifetime, and he wished you to have it after his death, then he would have had to pass it to you under his will, which would have had to be witnessed.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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