How can I get my father's possessions after death from my uncle? 15 Answers as of December 30, 2013

I probably don't have a case here, but I'll ask anyway. My father passed away 18 years ago, when I was 16. My dad lived in Southern California at the time, and I lived in Nevada. While we were traveling down to have the service and bury him, my uncle went to my dad's apartment and took all of his firearms, four total. My dad had no will and my parents were divorced, so, doesn't that make me the next of kin? Shouldn't I have the right to those heirlooms? I have been trying to get the guns back from my uncle for about ten years to no avail. Can I do anything about this?

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James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
Yes, you can file a petition to probate your father's estate and be appointed the personal representative. Then you will have the authority to take back the property.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/30/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
You have a tough case. You were a minor when the guns were converted, so the statute of limitations would not have started until at least you became 18. At that point, you would have only had a limited time to bring a case. That time has since expired. That does not mean you cannot continue to appeal to your uncle to do the right thing and let you have your father's guns. But if he refuses to do so, I do not think you have a legal claim on them. By all means, if you want to check with a CA lawyer, you can and should do so. But I think your chances of bringing a successful claim are very small.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/27/2013
Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
With no will and no spouse, you would be next of kin, most likely. Logistics of getting them might be difficult though.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 12/27/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Yes, it appears that you are the next of kin. Your remedy may be to find a lawyer to file suit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/27/2013
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
Unfortunately in almost all states you have a 3 year statute of limitation on conversion of personal items like this. So you are out of luck legally.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/27/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    Most states have a limit to the time an estate may be probated or contested (even without a will). Check with an Estate Planning Attorney in California regarding the time limit.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    In Florida you would be considered the next of kin. I don't know California's laws which are the laws that would prevail in this case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You would have had a case had you not waited so long. You were certainly entitled to the guns and once you became an adult you should have legally pursued them. That said, a letter from an attorney to your uncle might get him to turn them over, but I would do it now and expect to send a couple hundred dollars for the effort. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You are a day late and a dollar short. I am afraid you have not a case anymore; might as well as put that issue to rest and close the chapter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Frances An
    You were too young at the time. You could ask your uncle to put the guns in his will and leave them to you when he dies. Yes, you were the next of kin. But too much time has passed for the court to do anything. You would have had to file something when you turned 21. Try to accomplish what you want by talking to your uncle.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Sue him for conversion. It may be too late, but it might work.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You have a case and should immediately consult with an attorney who specializes in estate litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    You could easily have done something about this when you were 18, but now you are too late unless you have something in writing, signed by your uncle, that can be used to prove that they are yours.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You can file a small estate administration in CA and seek to get them back. Probably not worth the time or cost and you may not be successful.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/27/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    After 18 years it is very doubtful, you might see an attorney with the details but do not get your hopes up.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/27/2013
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