Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Louisiana

is possession 9/10 of the law?

In 2001, my father died leaving a painting that was not worth very much at the time. It has increased in value and my mother has become aware of this. My parents separated in 1970 in Maryland. They were never legally divorced but were very estranged until the time of his death. He moved to Louisiana shortly after their separation which I don't think was done legally either. She moved to Louisiana around 10 years ago. They remained estranged. When my sister and I divided our father's possessions, it was never even remotely considered that our mother be there, including and especially by my mother.She was not there and even stated, not that she needed to, that she didn't want anything of his. Now she is saying that they were still married at the time of his death and the painting is hers, according to Louisiana law. Does she have any claim at all to this painting? By the way I am the same person that wrote you about my sister claiming that the painting is half hers. They are both trying to get this painting. When does a possession become a possession?They are both threatening legal action.

Asked on 2/09/09, 10:45 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Nick Pizzolatto, Jr. Pizzolatto Law Office
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Re: is possession 9/10 of the law?

In Louisiana, one who possesses a painting in good faith and with a document showing ownership becomes owner in 3 years. Otherwise it is 10 years. So, you need to open your father's succession, place everything he owned in that succession, including his debts, and let the court figure out who gets what.

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2/09/09, 1:06 pm

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