Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

My Fiance recently passed away and his mother took all his belongings and is now trying to take his class ring from high school which he gave and proposed to me with as an engagment ring, i would like to know if as his fiance is there anyway i can keep my engagment ring and obtain his belongings?

Asked on 7/21/13, 11:39 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kenneth Love Ken Love Law

As a fiancÚ, if he gave you the ring, it is yours. As a fiancÚ you have no right to his other belongings unless he specifically gave them to you at his exclusion before he died. Unless he had a will, you are unfortunately not legally entitled to inherit from him.

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Answered on 7/22/13, 11:39 am

I agree. For the most part, gifts are gifts. If the gift was made before he died, its yours. You are not entitled to anything else of your fiance's unless he had a will and made a bequest to you or you owned it jointly with right of survivorship or were a part owner.

However, there is one slight wrinkle in this - since you indicate that the high school class ring was really intended as an engagement ring, then engagement rings are looked at as conditional gifts based on the marriage which did not occur. Where the marriage does not occur because the parties break up, I know that cases in other states have held that the man gets the ring back where the parties are alive, regardless of fault in who caused the break up. However, the courts have reached opposing views as to whether the ring needs to be returned where the marriage does not occur because of the death of one of the parties. I just have not researched how NC treats engagement rings in general or death situations in particular but if its a conditional gift, then the ring may have to come back.

You might want to check with a family/matrimonial lawyer just to see if there is anything in NC law which would require you to give the ring back as its a conditional gift given in contemplation of marriage. But you definitely are not entitled to any other possessions like clothes, car, stereo, computer etc. If these things are his and were not given to you as a gift or are titled in his name then his parents (I am assuming he did not make a will) would be entitled to possession of these items

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Answered on 7/23/13, 1:02 am

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