Be wary of the paths you cross! All niceties are not nice! Helpful and helpfulness can be deceptive stall tactics.
Thanks very much, Richard (& Tony) I spoke with an entertainment lawyer by phone a couple of weeks ago, and he basically told me that I first need to get copies of whatever contracts/agreements they (UMG) have, and they won't want to give them to me. He said their copyrights may very well have run out, in which case I would be in a position to get the rights myself, but they won't make it easy for me to do that either. He also said that this was more of a family/estate law case than an entertainment one and I should find an estate lawyer who maybe could write out a letter or two for me, but that most of it I could do myself and it might not be worth the expense of hiring a lawyer.
I attempted to make that previous post readable........
I'll keep plugging away, though, even though it might not amount to anything. I can't believe things are so screwed up that this can happen to so many artists and artists' heirs. I'll definitely do some research on the Bob Marley/"work for hire" issue, although I don't know how relevant that will be since my father was primarily a singer.
Thanks for your advice and good luck with your situation, too!