What rights doI have to my deceased father’s estate?

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What rights doI have to my deceased father’s estate?

My father was not married but lived with his girlfriend for 10 years. There is no common-law in the state. Her name was on the title of his car after his name. Legally the car is half mine and she should have to buy me out of it. Can I take the car and make her take me to court for it? What are my rights to his car and his belongings? What would be the easiest and fastest way to get his stuff back?

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  And I am sorry for your problems here.  You need to go and be appointed as the Personal Representative of your Father's estate as soon as you can.  You will need to know what his assets are and the estimated value in order to do so. Once you have been appointed with Letters of Administration you are permitted to gather (also called "Marshall") the assets of the estate which gives you the legal right to his things.  AS for the car, do not do anything that could cast  adisparaging shadow on you especially when you are about to take on a very serious position under the law.  Get help.  Good luck.


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