Who owns the equipment and tools in a family business?

My father-in-law just passed away and he started the company but turned it over to my husband in 2008.  Now my mother-in-law is claiming that everything is hers.  I need to know if a product, tool, or piece of equipment (or vehicle in mother-in-law’s name, used strictly for business) was purchased for use in business, who does it belong to?

Thank you.

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Alasdair Taylor's Answer

Assuming that the business was not incorporated as a company or other legal entity, and that the estate of the father passed to his widow, this probably depends upon the nature of the earlier transfer of the business. Did that transfer have the effect of transferring the relevant assets?  Was there anything in writing?  Was it intended that the assets would be transferred with the business?

So, to give a more definite answer to the question, a lawyer would need to look at the circumstances surrounding the business transfer.

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