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Returning books after someone has died


Over a decade ago I borrowed two books from an acquaintance, and she passed away before I could return them. I tried to contact her son a couple of times but he did not respond. Am I obligated to hold on to the books or can I dispose of them?




Before getting to your actual question, I am assuming that you are contracting the son because the person’s husband is no longer alive. Otherwise he is the one you should be contacting, as all of his wife’s possessions go him, not her son.  Additionally, if there are other sons you should contact them.

If the only inheritor is indeed the woman’s son, you can send him a text or e-mail saying that you have these books, and you don’t know if he wants them or if you can throw them out. If he doesn’t contact you, within a few weeks you assume that he doesn’t want them and that you have his permission to throw them out. All you need to know is that he indeed got your message, and then you can proceed as explained.

Best wishes


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