Where do I stand if my boyfriend died and the house was in his name?

My boyfriend and I lived in his house for the last three years. He passed away
with specific last wishes. I have a Will and his ashes. Can his children come
in and take everything? Can they make me move?

Asked on June 10, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he has a valid will (one that was properly signed by him and witnessed), then you are entitled to whatever is in the will--no more and no less. A valid will controls what happens with a person's estate (e.g. their assets: money, real estate, etc.) after their death. If yoiu have a copy of the will and it benefits you, keep the original(s) safe and retain a probate attorney to help you carry it out--if you cannot afford a lawyer or do not want one and you are named as executor, you can apply to the surrogates or probate court for them to confirm you as executor, which will give you control over the estate, to do with it as the will directs. If the family wants to see the will, give them a copy--not the original (or if you don't have the original, always keep copies for yourself; don't give away all your copies).
The children cannot do anything against the wishes of a valid will.
Note that as girlfriend, you have only the rights in the will, since "girlfriend" is not a legal relationship, and living in someone's home gives you no rights to it. So again, you have whatever the will gives you--no more and no less.

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