How does a business determine the "correct" owner of a vehicle stored by a now deceased tenant?
Question Details: I managed a storage facility and was recently informed that a tenant who has a boat stored passed away last month. We have now been contacted by 2 daughters who want to remove the boat and an ex-wife who says she has title. We are going to ask for a copy of the death certificate to determine the next of kin. However, how does a storage operator determine who is the rightful person to take possession of a vehicle.
One of them has to provide you court authorization stating that they are the executor (if there was a will) or personal representive/administrator (if no will) of the estate--i.e. something from a court showing that they are the person authorized to collect and ultimately distribute (to whomever inherits) estate assets. If someone shows up with such authorization, take a copy of it for your records and let them have the boat--what they do with it next is their problem. But don't give it to anyone, even "next of kin," without court authorization: it's not your job to decide who inherits or ultimately gets the boat. This authorization is commonly called "letters testamatentary." If somoene shows with what is claimed to be court authority but you are not 100% sure, call the court clerk's office and ask to verify it.
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