Can a long term girlfriend open Probate for deceased boyfriend?

My brother died intestate and has 2 adult kids. His live in girlfriend states she owns everything because she’s lived there for 10 years. She claims she’s paid half all bills for years which is not true she gets $800 a month

Asked on September 12, 2017 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

She *only* owns outright what she bought entirely with her money or which she can show was affirmatively gifted to her; she has an ownership interest in (e.g. a half-interest in) anything they bought together; and she has NO interest at all in anything he had pre-their relationship, or inherited, or bought with his own money, or which was given him as a gift. Being a girlfirend, being the mother of his children, and living together for 10 years gives her NO legal rights, including rights to stay in the home unless she is an owner of it (on the title); girlfriend is, unlike spouse, not a legal relationship and neither it nor lengh of time conveys any rights.
You can stop her from selling your brother's goods. She cannot open probate, having no legal ties to him, unless he had a will specifically naming her as executor. And if the home was owned by him and is not being inherited (e.g. by a will) by her, she can be removed from it by the person who is the executor or administrator of the estate. There are legal actions you can bring to get a judicial determination of what her rights are--and are not; and to also stop her from selling *anything* pending such determination; and to begin (if appropriate) the process of removing her. This is procedurally complex, especially compared to--for example--a small claims case; you are strongly advised to retain an attorney to help you and to stress to the lawyer that time is of the essence--that you need a court order barring sales, etc. before she disposes of anything.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.