If a caregiver/boyfriend of 25+ years lost their companion and know the home going into probate, do theyhave any rights to property?

My brother has provided around-the-clock care to his quadriplegic girlfriend for the past 25+ years. His girlfriend recently passed away. Does he have any legal rights to the house or any compensation from the sale of her estate? It is unknown whether there is a Will.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for his loss and for the situation. Obviously they were not legally married and Florida does not recognize common law marriage.  So he has no survivorship rights  - rights that allow property to pass automatically - to her estate or any property in her name only.  If there is a joint account then he would have rights as a joint owner.  But unless there is a Last Will and Testament that bequeaths him the property he can not make a claim to it.  If he thinks that there may be a Will then he should take care to look for it very quickly.  If her family chooses not to probate then he will get nothing under intestacy even if he is named in the Will.  Good luck to him.


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