Do I have a legal right to dispose of my deceased roommate’s personal property?

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Do I have a legal right to dispose of my deceased roommate’s personal property?

My roommate passed away intestate, because of this I must vacate my current premises They passed on 7-26-10 I appear to have no legal standing in disposing of my friends personal property. I am mobility impaired and moving into an independent living facility. Can not store the property and don’t think I can simply have church members haul it away.

Asked on August 26, 2010 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The simple matter is, the property is not yours so no, you have no right to dispose of it. Being a roommate gives you no legal right to or over it. Of course, if it's not yours, you don't need to take responsibility for it either, if you were not the landlord from whom your roommate was renting. While you probably should make an attempt to contact the roommate's family, who can then deal with it, if you and your roommate both rented from some third party, you could move yourself and your belongings out and leave your roommate's belongings for the landlord to deal with. That may not be an ideal solution, but it would be a legal one--you do not need to take responsibility for the dispositon of a roommate's property.


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