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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 101731
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Someone's tractor has been on our property years

Customer Question

Someone's tractor has been on our property for seven years I've put repairs into the tractor and now there wanting to get the tractor back there no title no proof they own the tractor. so who's property is it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; (B) If you receive a phone call offer while we chat, know that this is an automated test feature the site is running. Due to possible ethical issues, the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I normally decline them. Unless the phone call offer you receive literally states "THIS OFFER IS FROM ELY" (which means I personally initiated it), please do not entertain any such offer; and (C) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.
When you say that there is no title, do you mean:
1) The tractor is simply not titled and Kansas does not require it to be; or
2) There is a title but you do not know whose name is ***** *****; AND
3) How did the tractor get there in the first place?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The tractor is very old, grandfather passed away around 10 years ago. 2nd wife has since passed. Tractor ended up on my property 7+ years ago. There are no titles that anyone is aware of. Now the step daughter of the 2nd wife is trying to take the tractor off of my property with out my permission. Does she have that right to come and get it? There is no paperwork stating who the tractor belongs to. I have put money into the tractor to fix it and have told them to come get it but no-one has wanted to get it until now.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
So it was your grandfather's, correct?
He was married to his second wife who also passed, correct?
And for nether, probate was filed, correct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Correct and correct but there was never probate.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Well, this is why probate needs to be filed when someone passes away. Aside from the fact that the probate helps give access to bank accounts and property in the deceased's name and distribute it, it also distributes non-titled property as the tractor.
Assuming neither had wills, the tractor would have gone to whoever is entitled to it per the default state laws here (scroll down to WHO GETS WHAT) and then first apply that to the grandfather, and then to his second wife if she would have gotten the tractor.
NOW, because probate was not filed, the above does not (yet) apply. Technically, one can simply state "this non-titled chattel (item) has been on my land for years and I am claiming possession of it. Period."
There is not much anyone else can do, except, the second step-daughter would have to file at least one probate (perhaps two) to "trace" the tractor back to her. This would mean a lot of work and legal fees to do so. Unless she does this, she cannot claim the tractor, arguably.
NOTE that if the tractor has a title to it, then someone in your situation may wish to pursue an abandoned title to "solidify" one's claim to it.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.