Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.
I read your facts, is there a specific question with which I could assist?
I will be going offline in a little while but if i miss you tonight I will pick up and continue tomorrow morning.
There is no way to know for sure without examining the probate papers as well the details of each and every transaction.
However, it is extremely unlikely (less than a 1% chance) that you would be able to pursue a claim against anything in a collection, private or public, at this late date. The statute of limitations would have passed long, long ago.
As to the intellectual property (patents, etc) it is certainly possible heirs could have a claim against royalties, etc. What would have happened if there were "unknown heirs" at the time of the probate is that the court would have set up a trust or some other type of organization to handle the assets until the unknown heirs made a claim.
It would be worth investigating but you don't want to put any large amount of money into it until you get copies of the probate paperwork and let a local lawyer look it over. That will tell you whether there is anything still there for the heirs.