In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
My elderly, never married, child-less Aunt has recently passed away. We had been in contact in the past, but only by telephone over the last several years, but had only seen each other at a funeral about 6 months ago. I received a call from someone telling me of her passing. This person did not say it but I now have found that he is an attorney. Last year my Aunt added him to her deed on the house that my grandmother originally owned. I am not really interested in the house but wanted to be able to retrieve family photos and personal effects. This person has told me when the funeral is, where it is and will not tell me if I can have any access to her effects. I have gone online to the Registry of Deeds and have seen that there have been a succession of mortgages (seven at my count) that have been taken out and then discharged on the house over the last 5 years. One is in force at this time. This makes me worry about the relationship that this person had with my aunt. They were even listed on one of the mortgages as a "non-vested interest". Can I gain access to any of the personal effects? If there is a will probated, with this person getting everything can I still gain the opportunity to collect family related momentoes? I do not know about any will, have not been told of one, but I assume that there is one.