What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
Ill try to summarize. I am the only son to a wonderful woman who I called "Mom" for 36 years. Since I was born, it was just the two of us. Connected at the hip, through many struggles, hard times, and amazing memories. It was always her and I. She divorced my father, and remarried to a bad man. That eventually ended, and when I was 26 she was single and on her own again. Always fighting, always working hard, always keeping herself on her feet.
At age 60 she met a man who was kind, and treated her well. In the final years of her life, they married. She continued to work because he got laid off and refused to do anything to support them, aside from spend his life savings on monthly expenses. She wouldn't let him touch her savings. As it reflected her entire life of struggles and accomplishments.
At age 69 she passed away, leaving me with her retirement account, and without a proper will in place. This action of her leaving me as beneficiary angered the 3rd husband intensely, and he fought with attorneys to try and take it from me. He'd spent all his savings because he'd refused to work. So he wanted her money.
The 3rd husband got the 4 cars, and the 5 bedroom house they bought together. He also got a $100,000 life insurance policy and I gave him $35,000 from her retirement account to cover all her medical bills and any other expenses / debt he was carrying due to her.
My mothers belongings are 100% sentimental. They are of little financial value. A closet full of dresses she'd worn since I was a child. Her smell is on them. Her purses. Her hair brush. Countless home decorations she's carried from home to home since I was a child. Christmas ornaments I made for her in 2nd grade that have hung on the tree right up until last year. Paperwork. Documents. Letters and notes to family that this 3rd husband has never known, and never will know.
90% of her life was spent without him, but 100% of her life is in that house with him, and he is refusing to send any of it to me. Prior to finding out she left me her IRA, he said he had a box he was putting things that might be meaningful to me, into. I dont think its his job to decide whats meaningful to me. After he found out about the IRA, that box was never sent.
It has now been a year and a half since my mother passed away, and the only thing I have to remember her by is the tombstone in the ground at the cemetery. I have nothing else.
Some total stranger who happened along in the final years of her life, has legal right to 100% of her life's belongings - because of what? Some arbitrary rule that a husband "gets stuff like that" ?
Why is it that an only son, the closest blood relative would not trump a 3rd husband of a few years?
Do I have any legal recourse to getting my mothers belongings from him? After all I am her son.
Can I have an attorney file a claim? An injunction to require him to give me her personal effects?
Again this isnt about valuable posessions. Nothing is worth anything. Even though he has her entire jewelry case which has tons of jewelry. Assuming he hasnt hawked it at this point.
One of those rings is the ring she married my father with. Forever lost?
Any help would be appreciated.