How can I protect my boyfriend’s estate during the probate process?

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How can I protect my boyfriend’s estate during the probate process?

We were engaged, together for 7 years, and during that time I spent, have receipts for thousands of dollars in home improvements, from landscaping to interior decorating. I have receipts and photos online of the property and the dramatic increase in property value during that time. It gets complicated here. Now 1 of his 3 children is trying to control everything. She moved in on her father when I went to work in CA and 4 months later he was dead. The daughter has documented mental, drug issues. She has filed probate papers, leaving the other 2 adult children off papers. The other daughter thinks she’s going to get rich and has also left the house. Can I file a claim, and lock the money in an annuity or something for the son being left out and grandchildren? She killed the only one that mattered. I want no money.

Asked on April 20, 2018 under Estate Planning, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If your boyfriend left a will leaving part or all of his estate to you, you can take action to protect your rights under the will and enforce its terms. But you can only do this if there was a will naming you; without a will, you do not inherit anything, even if you spent money improving his property, since "boyfriend" is not a legally recognized relationship. Only spouses and other family by birth or adoption can inherit; if you were "only" his girlfriend, you have no right to any of his estate and therefore (since you have no rights) you also have no "standing" to take or get involved in any legal action whatsoever. 
You are entitled to keep your own property (e.g. clothes, jewlery, computer, etc.) at his home; you are entitled to a share of any property or assets which you and he provably owned jointly (in certain kinds of joint ownership, like if you and he owned property as joint tenants with right of surivorship, or JTROS, you might even get the whole asset); but you have no right to anything he owned, which will all go to his children, and do not even have any right to get invovled in the distribution or inheritance of his assets.


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