Do I have the legal right to remove my recently deceased father’s belongings from his girlfriends house

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have the legal right to remove my recently deceased father’s belongings from his girlfriends house

My father died 3 weeks ago. His
girlfriend of 30 years is making all the
decisions. Is that legal? Am I able to
remove his possessions from her house

Asked on May 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

She has NO right to give away anything belonging to your father, unless there was a will which both named her as the beneficiary (i.e. she would inherit these things eventually, once the will was probated) and as executor (giving her authority over the estate, such as to sell items if that is in the interest of the beneficiary[ies]). You could file a legal action to stop her from doing this and to force her to compensate the estate and its beneficiaries for anything she has taken, disposed of, or sold, assuming that she is not the beneficiary and executor. (In this conjunction, note that a girlfriend does NOT inherit unless there is a will leaving something to her--"girlfriend" is not a legally recognized relationship which leads to inheritance without a will.) The legal action is a complex one to bring: it would have to be filed in chancery or probate court, and would involve also petitioning to be appointed as the  personal representative of the estate. You are strongly encouraged to retain a lawyer to help you; if it's not worth it to hire a lawyer, it may not be worth pursuing.

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.

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