Can my nephew get his father’s car from me even if his father instructed the apartment manager to give his car to me when he dies? 25 Answers as of September 22, 2012

My brother passed away two weeks ago. Before his death, he gave instructions to the apartment manager that if anything should happen to him for the apartment manager to give me his car. My brother left our nephew all the remaining of his possessions except for the car. My nephew took possession of the car and he refuses to give it to me unless I meet his demands.

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James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
I think you are saying that your brother who died left all of his property to his son (either by Will or by as his sole heir if he did not have a Will); but, he left instructions with the apartment manager that his car should go to you. Unfortunately, his instructions to the apartment manager would need to qualify either as a Will or as a trust for them to be effective after his death. He could have given you his car during his life; but, to have a gift effective after he died he would need to make a Will or a trust. Based on the information that you provided, the son gets the car; you do not. Sorry.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 9/22/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
He needed to put his wishes in writing not orally. Or add your name to the registration. You may have been able to go to secretary of state and get car registered to you as a relative.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/21/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Your brother's instructions to the apartment manager are not binding in Nevada. This means that your nephew could get the car.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/18/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
You need to consult with a probate attorney to review all of the facts and advise you how best to proceed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/18/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
If nothing is in writing, you'll have a hard time proving it.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/18/2012
    Law Offices of Michael N. Stafford | Michael N. Stafford
    The car and all other assets owned by your brother will pass to the heirs of your brother through the Probate court by way of the will or by intestate succession or to other owners by joint tenancy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Statements made to another but not reduced to writing have no legal effect as a will. If your brother had a written will, that will should determine who gets the car. If there is no will, the statutes defining "intestate succession" will govern. In either case, the case needs to be probated in order for a court to determine the rights of any claimant to the decedent's property.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith | Eric Smith
    A will is the way that people make sure their wishes are carried out after they die with regard to their property. A probate court, not an apartment manager, give a properly probated will legal authority. Your brother apparently did not have a will, so the law of intestate succession (dying without a will) applies and in most, if not all, states (certainly Texas) his wife and children would receive his property instead of you as a sibling.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Grant Morris Dodds | Mark Dodds
    Your claim on the automobile is invalid. Nevada Statutes 133.100 state that oral wills (nuncupative wills) are invalid. Your brother's statement to the apartment manager, without being supported by a writing which would qualify as a will, cannot be carried out because it is only an oral will.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Assuming the nephew is the only direct heir of your brother, he is entitled to receive and take possession all of his father's possessions, regardless of what your brother told the apartment manager.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    Your brother should have put it in writing. If your brother died intestate, without a will, then his assets go to the children, presumably your nephew was his son.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    John C. Schleiffarth, P.C. | John C. Schleiffarth
    Who receives property after someone dies follows specific laws. If there was a valid will, the property follows the directions of the will. If there was no will, the property is divided by operation of law. I would need more information to determine who gets the car. It is likely not up to your nephew unless the title is in his name. You need to meet with a probate lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    An oral instruction cannot be enforced after death. If your brother wanted you to have the car, he would have needed to give it to you in a will. If he had no will, it goes to either his wife, or if he had none, then to his children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    An "instruction" is not binding unless it is contained in a properly executed will or trust, or unless there has been a pre-death transfer from your brother. He should have either put this in his will or given the car to you in his lifetime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    The apartment manager has no right to control ownership of the car; and your brother's verbal instructions cannot be proven especially if they conflict with what is written in his will.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Horn & Johnsen SC
    Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
    With very few exceptions, instructions regarding the distribution of a person's assets upon death must be in writing and properly executed to be effective. If your brother had no valid will, then his net remaining assets after all debts and expenses have been paid must be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in his state of residence. In Wisconsin, assuming your brother was unmarried at the time of his death, then his estate should be distributed to his children, in equal shares.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If there is no spouse and will, all the property passes to the children.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    This is a complicated question. First, whose name is on the title to the car. Assuming it is your deceased brother then it may be necessary to go to probate. If the value is not high, it may not be necessary. The next question is whether your brother left a Will and the total value of the estate. Another issue is whether your nephew is an adult or minor, that may impact the result. Also, another issue is whether oral wills or trusts are valid in the state where your brother died and whether his statements to the apartment manager may satisfy those requirements. I urge you to assemble the answers to those questions to the best of your ability and meet with an attorney to discuss the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    If the bequests are in writing .. such as a will .. you can force it..otherwise.. your brothers heirs at law.. in this case his children get everything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    An oral promise to leave property is probably not legally enforceable. Your brother could have done a number of things to ensure that you would receive the vehicle, chief among them being to leave a Will to that effect. Since he did not do that, his assets all pass to his heir(s), which suggests that the nephew gets the car. If he knows that his father wanted you to have it, morally, he should give you the car. Legally, he does not need to.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    The frequent lawyer answer applies here: it depends, and more facts are necessary. Under what authority does your nephew have possession of the vehicle? In Maryland, he may be able to possess it for protecting estate property if he is the personal representative of your brother's estate. If there are enforceable debts against the estate, then the vehicle might need to be used to pay those debts.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Who paid the funeral bill. Title to the automobile can be transferred under the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. Otherwise it must be probated. In these cases the car can be kept or sold to reimburse funeral expenses or to repay debts of the decedent. A devise is valid if it is a testamentary writing. See an attorney to determine your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    I am sorry for your loss. May your memories of your brother bring you comfort. Regarding the automobile. There are a great many variables that need to be assessed. How was the car titled? Did your brother leave a will? If so, what provisions were included in the will? In order to determine if you have an actionable option I advise you to meet with an Indiana attorney. Best regards, Martin Description: Business Card Image The information in this email is privileged and confidential. It is intended only for certain recipients, as determined by the sender. Copying and distribution of this communication by parties other than those intended recipients is strictly prohibited, without prior consent. If you receive this email in error, please notify the sender immediately at (317) 804-5058 and thereafter delete the message and destroy any hard-copies that might have been produced or generated. Receipt by anyone other than the proper recipient is not a waiver of any applicable privilege or any other legal rights, including but not limited to trade secret and/or confidentiality. Additionally, mere receipt of this email does not, on its own, create an attorney client relationship and no such relationship should be inferred. IRS Circular 230 Notice: We are required to advise you that no person or entity may use any tax advice in this communication or any attachment to (i) avoid any penalty under federal tax law or (ii) promote, market or recommend to any third party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    Unfortunately, there is very little that you can do. You appear to be claiming that your brother made an "oral will" with respect to his car. This type of will is not enforceable in California. If your brother had a will, then the car will go to whomever the will names. If your brother did not have a will, then the property passes by way of intestate succession. Assuming your brother was not married at the time of his passing, the car (and all his other property) would pass to your brother's children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
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