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My father passed away and left me a vehicle, but my family took it?

Discussion in 'Adverse Possession' started by Danielle Gardner, May 13, 2019.

  1. Danielle Gardner

    Danielle Gardner Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Arizona
    In November of 2017 my father passed away. He left me a vehicle. There was no will. He did leave me a signed and notarized document titled beneficiary designation. I was only 17 when my father passed, and they took the vehicle and hid it from me. My brother and my mother filed a non probate affidavit and claimed that he was the appropriate heir to the vehicle. I still have the document from my father stating I am the appropriate heir and the beneficiary opon death. I want to take them to court over this. Do I have a good case?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I don't think so.

    I have those for all my cars in favor of my sister.

    Note that the form says:

    28-2055 - Certificate of title; content requirements; transfer on death provision

    If he gave you the form without the title, then the form is worthless.
     
  3. Danielle Gardner

    Danielle Gardner Law Topic Starter New Member

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    What if I had that form and the title, but my brother did a non probate affidavit prior to me being able to go ahead and file the form and the title?
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Do you have the title?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Please accept my sincerest condolences upon the passing of your father.

    I pray you will live to do his memory honor, and reach peace with his passing so early in your young life.

    A MINOR child cannot own and control property until she reaches the age of majority.

    The age of majority generally happens when the minor becomes 18 years old or 21 years old, depending on your state.

    In your state the age of majority is 18 years old, therefore you couldn't legally inherit any property.

    The other issue is how the property was allegedly conveyed to you.

    I suggest you remember this incident as you become a member of the majority class and keep your finances and property as far away as you can from the thieves you believe purloined the vehicle your father intended to gift to you.
     
  6. Danielle Gardner

    Danielle Gardner Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm pretty sure I have the original title with my father's name on it in my filing cabinet somewhere.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    It's not doing you any good there. Go find it and come back to discuss further.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    If he had no will, then what does your statement that he "left [you] a vehicle" mean?

    Without being able to read that document or having a clear and accurate summary of what it says, it's impossible to know if this document had any legal effect. That being said, insurance policies and financial accounts typically have beneficiary designations; motor vehicles do not.

    Note that I'll defer to "adjusterjack" as it concerns the particular document that he mentioned, if, in fact, it is the same thing that you're talking about.

    Who are "they"?

    The facts you've provided thus far are unclear, so it's impossible to be certain, but probably not.

    Since your father died without a will, the disposition of his estate was governed by Arizona's intestate succession laws. Those laws provide that, when a person dies without a will and is survived by a spouse and descendants who are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse inherits the entire net estate (after payment of estate debt). If, by chance, your mother and father were not married at the time of his death, then his net estate (after payment of estate debt) would be divided evenly between his children.

    When and where did he file this affidavit? Your father died a year and a half ago, so you've obviously had plenty of time to act on document you mentioned.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Here is the relevant law:

    2005 Arizona Revised Statutes - :: Revised Statutes §14-3971  Collection of personal property by affidavit; ownership of vehicles; affidavit of succession to real property

    The affidavit wouldn't have been filed by the father - it would be filed by the beneficiary wishing to transfer the title.

    For the OP: How did you come in to possession of the affidavit? If you were the one in possession of it, then how would anyone else know it even existed? Since the title to the vehicle was, apparently, properly transferred through the probate process, then it is unlikely that you have any recourse.
     
  10. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I agree that your age is your biggest problem here. You were a minor at the time of death. Any property you think belongs to you actually belongs to your parents. Your parents had other plans for the vehicle.
    I don't think you have anything to pursue here.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    This is the form:

    https://azdot.gov/docs/default-source/mvd-forms-pubs/96-0561.pdf?sfvrsn=0

    It's required to be attached to the title to be valid.

    If OP has the title I think a case could be made that the car should have been held in trust for her until she reached the age of 18.

    Arizona's vehicle TOD became available 3 or 4 years ago and I have found no case law regarding 28-2055.

    If she has the title she could take a shot at suing for the value of the car in Arizona small claims court (maximum $3500) and see how that goes.
     

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