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

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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
legally?

Asked on May 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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