Boyfriend of 4.5 years passed w/no will

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Boyfriend of 4.5 years passed w/no will

My boyfriend of 4.5 years passed with no will, he had a multitude of health issues that he had passed from. Before he went to the hospital for the last time, he had given me all of his possessions because he knew he was not going to come out of the hospital. now his sisters are coming after me for his possession that he gave me prior to passing. Even though he gave away all of his possessions prior to passing, is it required of me to give his sisters all the items that were given to me?

Asked on April 10, 2018 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Legally--with some exceptions, discussed below--if they were gifted to you, they are yours: a person may do whatever he likes with his belongings while alive; and a gift, once given, may not be ungiven.
Practically, if he only gifted them to you right before he died and there is no written documentary evidence of that, it may be very hard to prove this happened; it will seem not credible that he did this, because it is very "convenient" for you and very self-serving for you to testify that he gave you everything but didn't have a will or any other evidence that he did this. You may not be able to prove or establish that you were gifted his possessions if challenged by his family in court.
Also:
1) Real estate can only be passed in writing (e.g. a written contract for sale; a quitclaim deed; etc.), so if there was real estate, if any transfer to you was not properly documented, any gift would be invalid.
2) Vehicles can only be transferred by having their title properly transfered; if this was not done, a gift of a vehicle would not be effective.
3) If he owned anything jointly with another persoin (e.g. a sibling), he cannot give away their interest, and certain kinds of joint ownership result in the asset going directly to the surviving joint owner when one joint owner dies.
4) Anything that had a mortgage, a loan or financing, etc. on it must have the loan, etc. paid off, or the lender or financing company can reclaim it.


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