If my late father’s live-in girlfriend took items from his home without my consent, can I change the locks?

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If my late father’s live-in girlfriend took items from his home without my consent, can I change the locks?

She was ok to take her items but she took extra that she claim she helped paid for. I told her we needed to wait for probate but she took items anyway. What can I do because the police department said it was civil matter.

Asked on July 4, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Technically, until the estate is probated and the home distributed to whomever (presumably you) will inherit it, only the executor or administrator can change locks. But under the circumstances, when there is someone else with access who may and already has taken items from the home, no court would blame you for changing the locks, so long as you give copies of the keys to the executor or administrator when one is appointed. So yes, you should be able to go ahead and do this.


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