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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32365
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
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My Great Grandmother was contacted in Wisconsin in 1933

Customer Question

My Great Grandmother was contacted in Wisconsin in 1933 regarding the estate and death of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York. During those depression years, she was in Wisconsin raising three children by herself, so jewelry/lamp shop was not something she chose to get envolved in at that time. Currently, I have copies of birth certificates, family trees, military papers, marriage certificates, etc. to prove relation. My grandmothers have passed, but they always encouraged me to inquire when I had the time. If I'm not mistaken, Tiffany & Co went to the state and went up for auction. Hoping for a paralegal to check to discover through public records exactly what happened to estate. I know many pieces are in museums, are owned by private parties, New York State and corporations have all been involved since. Also, at this point, we're wondering if family getting involved now would have any right to get involved. Any information would be helpful. I'm hoping a New York legal person will have better access to public records.
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Thank you, Sheri
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

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.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does our family have any rights to the goods that are in museums? Or patents that were created by ***** ***** Tiffany and son, Louis Compfort Tiffany? Or anything else? My great great grandfather was brothers with ***** ***** Tiffany, but had died. My Great Grandmother was contacted regarding estate in 1933. In your opinion, is this worth investigating?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

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.

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