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ANy idea how to prove ownership of an item and that it was paid for 30yrs ago, not a gift?

(11 Posts)
bramblina Sun 29-May-11 14:55:52

Do you know of any law, rule, etc that would say if you had something in your posession for 30yrs+ that it would be fair to say you owned it?
I am executor of a will, there has been a huge falling out, one son (not included in the will) is now saying that there are 2 items that belong to him in the house, however the deceased's husband (also deceased) paid for these a long time ago. There is no receipt, or physical proof, of course. When the son left the family home he took all other items reasonably belonging to him but left these 2 items, obviously because he knew they weren't his. Now his solicitor is asking for proof of ownership.

Any ideas how to address this? It's all very ridiculous and I regret ever having been involved. Never ever offer to be an executor of a will. sad

Thanks in advance. smile

mercibucket Sun 29-May-11 14:58:25

doesn't it work the other way round? I can't just turn up at someone's house and claim their tv is mine and if they want to keep it, they have to prove they bought it themselves. hence, cheapest option maybe to write to his solicitor and ask for his proof of ownership

sorry - this is obviously not a 'legal' opinion

bramblina Sun 29-May-11 15:05:26

Yes, I totally agree, I just can't find the words to express this. Trouble is, they are paintings which his wife painted. She now sells paintings for about £1,000 poss. more. The deceased husband bought these when she was starting out, to help as you would, an artist trying to sell paintings in the early days. No doubting she has talent. So, your suggestion is great but as she "made" the items she wouldn't really have proof of ownership either, IYSWIM.
Any other ideas how to respond to the letter to get the point across? Thanks for your help so far.

gillybean2 Sun 29-May-11 16:11:29

The proof of ownership is that they are hanging in the deceased's house and have been for the last 30 years. I would say go with that and the fact it is common knowledge in teh family (assuming it is) that the husband bought thse to help her out when she first started out as an artist...

Do you know how they would have been paid for? If it was by cheque you may find the bank possibly has records of it.
Otherwise sworn avidevits from family members saying they understand the pictures were purchased and therefore owned by the husband.
Are they specifically mentioned in the will at all? That may be another way to argue they were considred to be owned by the husband/deceased.

bramblina Sun 29-May-11 16:21:40

Thank you that's interesting. We have a photo of the painting in the house about 20 years ago.
An affidavit may be the way to go.
Thanks everyone. smile

sneezecakesmum Sun 29-May-11 22:47:18

Just out of curiosity what does the son's wife say regarding her alleged sale of these paintings?. Is she prepared to lie?. I believe you when you say the fil bought them btw.

bramblina Mon 30-May-11 09:23:39

She is not in contact, this is all coming through the son. The families do not speak now, I am in contact with the son's solicitor. She denies any sale, says they still belong to her, I guess they class it as a long term loan. But, why would you do such a thing? You would either give them or sell them, either way it's permanent, surely? And 30yrs later after both parents are dead is it right to expect them back? I think ordinarily it is, if everyone was all speaking and I guess all items would be shared among the family but they all fell out and the recently deceased wrote everyone out of his will except one son. So, the son whose wife painted the pictures is contesting the will to claim her share of legal rights but also wants the paintings back, along with the living room stove because he bought it for them about 15 years ago! It is still fixed to the chimney. So, really the paintings should form part of the estate, to which he has small claim. Eventually, the value of the paintings may equal the amount he stands to claim. But the deceased did not want the other siblings to have anything as they took him from the son who has been left everything and put him in a home. So as he does not want them to have anything even though they are entitled to legal rights (half of the movable estate shared between the siblings) I don't see that the deceased would want them to have the paintings and their share of money, let alone the money they could end up with. So I am keen to respect his wishes and let them form part of the estate, not add it on to their assets, IYSWIM.
And yes, she would lie, they are wicked and just want as much as they can get. They dumped him in a home without any regard and cleaned out his house before he was even dead, to save them from coming back (300 miles) once he had died just to have to do it then.
sad

sneezecakesmum Mon 30-May-11 14:06:38

shock Thats awful, poor old man!
My mum looked after and lived with her grandma till she died, then all these relatives came and cleared out the house leaving my mum with the clothes she stood up in sad

mercibucket Mon 30-May-11 18:23:36

sounds a complicated story that's going to end with lawyers tbh. what a shame when families fall out like that

FlorenceMattell Mon 30-May-11 18:35:24

Seems to me as she painted them is fair to want them back.
Seems silly arguing over few thousand pounds.
Greedy selfish people may learn if other dont act the same as them. Contesting their claim my cost the estate?
Personally can never understand families falling out over money. Believe me when you die you wont care less how much or how little money you have got in life. But if you havent loved those around you that will bother you.

bramblina Wed 01-Jun-11 23:11:29

Thanks everyone. It's dreadful isn't it. Yes it probably will cost them what they inherit, so silly. It's probably a matter of principle now. Hey ho we live and learn sad

Have a happy life, everyone!! smile

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