Washington state laws after ones death

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Washington state laws after ones death

My grandfather died, leaving my Aunt and my mom as the executors of his Will, he had a girlfriend living with him. Long story short, she is very sneaky and he wanted her out, she said she would leave if he gave her $5000, he said no and than a few weeks later he died. When he died she went through his belongings and took all the money she could find he would hide money, but my mom knew about it and was shown where it was before he died she is to be out by November 1st but will not let anyone of his kids in the house to get his belongings. She put a long and chain on the gate, put a no trespassing sign on the gate and will not sign for certified mail stating they will be entering the house on such date to retrieve her dads things. The court wants all of his assets documented, however they can’t get in the house. She has no legal rights to the house but by my mom’s lawyer she is considered a

Asked on August 12, 2017 under Estate Planning, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Who owned the house? If your grandfather did and she was not on the title of the home, then unless she was paying him rent, she is *not* a tenant of his: she was his guest. As a guest, she may be asked to leave at any time--by your grandfather while he was alive, or now by the executor of the estate (if there was a will) or the administrator/court-appointed personal representative (if there was not will); that is, the person given authority by the court (either pursuant to a will, or if there was no will, as otherwise named by the court) can ask her to leave (in writing; and it's enough if you send it properly, even if she refuses to pick up the mail) and can, if she does not leave bring an action "for ejectment" (eviction for a non-tenant) to remove her. 
The executor or otherwise authorized person can also, on behalf of the estate, bring a lawsuit against her seeking either a court order that she turn over any personal belongings and/or suing her for their estimated value (if you don't know exactly what is there or its value, seek the court order that she allow access to it/turn it over).
These legal actions can be combined; and can be brought on an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis, to both get into court more quickly and to get a court order on a quick basis preventing her disposing of his belongings, to give you access to the home to inspect his belongings or perform maintenance, etc.
These actions are procedurally complex for a non-lawyer, but a lawyer should be able to bring them fairly easily. If your current lawyer has no experience with them, speak to a landlord-tenant attorney: he or she should know what to do.

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