How can I legally get access to my late father’s things to continue the probate process if his girlfriend lives in his house and won’t give me access?

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How can I legally get access to my late father’s things to continue the probate process if his girlfriend lives in his house and won’t give me access?

My father recently passed without a Will. He was unmarried but he had a live in girlfriend for the past 10 years in which they also had a child together. Common law is not recognized in our state, however she is currently living in the home with the minor child. The Clerk of Court will be appointing me (his daughter) as the Administrator of the estate however most of the documentation I need is locked in a safe in my father’s home which I currently do not have access to.

Asked on April 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If necessary, you can get a court order granting you access (from the probate court) and that order can direct law enforcement officers (e.g. sheriff/sherriff's deputies; constables) to assist you in gaining access. Obviously, first thing to do is to ask her if you can come in at a mutually agreed-upon time to remove the safe's contents, but if you can't work it out, you can seek judicial help. Call or otherwise speak with the clerk of the court for procedure.


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