Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My father died without a will. The backhoe he bought never had a bill of sale. Can a family member claim it?

Asked on 5/05/15, 4:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

No. If your father owned it then it passes as per the intestacy laws of the state where your father resided at the time of his death. For our purposes now, I will assume that is Pennslvania. In such case, your father's assets would pass to his spouse, if an, and children.

I don't know who this family member is claiming anything, but since your father has at least one child (you) then I do not know how an outside family member could claim anthing.

Of course, there is legal and ... not strictly legal. If there is no title and no other documentation, then how does one prove ownership other than by possession? Of course, this family member can pick up the backhoe and drive off with it. It will then be up to the personal representative of your father's estate to pursue a lawsuit to get it back. The other family member and personal representative could then fight it out as to who really owned the item. How is that shown? All kinds of ways. But that is something the personal representative would discuss with the estaet attorney. It also depends on what the backhoe is worth and who the family member is to know if litigation would be cost effective.

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Answered on 5/05/15, 8:24 pm

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