My question involves court procedures for the state of: NH
I am posting this here but I'm not sure if there is a better place to post it.
Looking for advice on how to handle a situation legally and whether it seems worth going to small claims court. Im sorry for such a long post, but its a complete mess so here goes:
2 years ago step father inlaw died. He owned a house in NH. His daughter and her estranged husband lived with him in the house for about 2 years prior to his death. They still live there. He had a will made up many years ago, which says his estate is to be split up as follows: 10% to each of his 3 children, 10% to each of his 3 step-children(my wife, and her two brothers), and each of his grand children, 8 of them total on both sides are to get each 5%. that makes up 100% of the estate. His daughter was named executor in that will.
Up until a month ago, nobody heard anything about the estate. When we checked a couple months ago with NH Probate court, nothing was filed. We all assumed the he changed his will just prior to his death, and left everything to the daughter he was living with. Last month we found out that wasnt the case. His son, hired a lawyer, and submitted a copy of that original will which was last will. So he did not sign over anything to just his daughter. The son filed to be named the new executor, and won because the daughter never bothered showing up to contest it. So now , the new excutors sister and her husband refused to let him in to the house, and refused to give him access to any paperwork with regards to life insurance, house records, and numerous bank and stock accounts. His lawyer was preparing to have them evicted so the house can be sold.
Now that we got that out of the way....
4 months ago my daughter was invited by them to move in since she recently graduated and took a job in MA and was looking for an apartment. They asked for no money, which I thought was odd. But she took them up on the offer, knowing it was going to be temporary, until she found her own apartment. She contributed by purchasing food for them, but when she asked about helping out with utilities they refused.
Daughter came back home, here in NY for Thanksgiving. she brought with her a cat, who actually belonged to the next door neighbor in NH. Even though this cat was legally the neighbors, it lived with my daughter and her step aunt. The step aunt said it was fine, and wanted her to take the cat, and daughter cleared it with the neighbor(cats owner) because she knew it was my daughter who cared for the cat the entire time.
Just after Thanksgiving, everyone listed in the will was sent a letter which stated all the beneficiaries. My daughters letter arrived at the NH house, because, even though it was temporary, she used that house as her mailing address for everything, and while here in Buffalo, was able to see all mailed delivered to the house with the USPS email notifications feature. TThed by telling him she planned on coming back at the end of the week. He blew up, and texted her telling she isnt allowed to live there and he was calling the police to tell them she kidnapped his cat. Which he did. We get a call from the local NH local police, who they had to follow up on what he reported. We explained to police, what was going on, and why we think this guy went off the deep end and reported the neighbors cat was stolen by my daughter. We assume he just found out that we, including my daughter, were now part of the estate, and part owners in this house. We also recently learned, from my daughter living there, he has a history of hard drug use. That explains the missing teeth probably. She also told us she found arrest records on him for assault nd domestic abuse. We also told the police we were immediately driving to NH to retrieve my daughters personal belongings, and we would like the police to escort us so we can get her things safely.
We arrived in NH and went to the police. They decide to call over to the house instead of just showing up. him, he After the officer got off the phone he said we should wait until the step aunt gets home in an hour, because her husband, the one who called about the cat, was ranting and raving and couldnt be reasoned with. This gave him time to pack up and destroy my daughters personal property she had there. When we arrived with the police, quite a bit was piled on the driveway, a complete mess. The officer went up and tried to convince them to let her in the house so she can get her stuff. He argued with police, who now called for backup. He refused to let any of us in the house because he was afraid to catch Covid. They agreed to bring out the rest of the items and put them in the garage. When they opened the garage door, a there was a big pile of my daughters property, a complete mess. We asked the police to inquire about a few higher value things and especially my daughters mail which she knew exactly what had arrived while gone, because she had images of the envelopes from USPS. Specifically her Bank card, Pin number mailing, new license, and the letter from the estate lawyer. He told the police he packed up everything. We loaded up what was there, exchanged a few choice words with them and left. Needless to say it was very heated and emotional as my daughter saw her stuff ruined.
After getting back home to Buffalo, she began unpacking the mess. There was around $350 worth of items damaged, clothing had carpet cleaner dumpted on them inside the bins, one bin had hundreds of thumbtacks tossed in and mixed in her sweaters so to stick her. She estimates about $1000 worth of other property including her tv, and all her work outfits, missing. But the jerk pack just the tv remote. The ironic part is my daughter said they kept her teeth whitening system, which she said makes know sense because neither have teeth from using meth before. Only one piece of mail was packed, and it was an junk mail that according to USPS informed delivery, came the same day as other important pieces of mail which were now missing and presumed stolen.
As her father, the most important part is behind us. She is out of a very dangerous situation and unharmed. Her lousy $1300 worth stuff can always be replaced. But to her, I think it's more about principal, and how she feels she has been violated. We recently learned, he is very unstable, controlling, and dangerous. We have found out he has quite a long history of legal issues in the past, with assault, domestic abuse, drug charges, breaking and entering. .
But I guess my question is , what do we do now? She is steaming!
She already reported stolen mail with USPS.
The estates attorney asked us to get an incident report from the police. She feels that the house could be ruined or destroyed before they get evicted.
I have a call into the detective that called my daughter about the cat originally, and plan on reporting the destroyed and missing items if I can over the phone.
My daughter wants to sue them. But I am wondering if its worth it, not knowing if she will win. My other concern is they will try to countersue her claiming she owes them money for living there even though they wouldnt take any when she offered.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.