My dad dies, and owns 2 properties him and his girlfriend names are on the deeds to the houses, yet he collected things and a lot of it sits outside how do I get rights to his stuff?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My dad dies, and owns 2 properties him and his girlfriend names are on the deeds to the houses, yet he collected things and a lot of it sits outside how do I get rights to his stuff?

Dad and girlfriends names on deeds to both
houses, not married, she keeps calling the
cops on us for going out there to get my dads
stuff, he has an abundant amount of tools and
machinery that sits outside I dont want it
stolen, she keeps giving things away how can I
get my dads personal property

Asked on December 5, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue her for the value of the belongings and/or for a court order specifically requiring that they be turned over to you. A girlfriend is not a legally recognized relationship: she has no right to inherit from him unless he willed items, assets, money, etc. to her. Anything he owned (as opposed to her property) would go to his children if there is no will (if there is a will, it goes to whomever she willed it to).
The reason you have to sue is that if her name was on the deeds, she is an or the owner of the houses; you are not. She has a right to keep you from trespassing on her land. You need a court to order her to turn his belongings over to you or make her pay for them, to legally get them or the money they are worth. 
Note that if your father and his girlfriend owned the homes as "tenants in common," then YOU (and any siblings you have) will inherit his interest in or share of the homes--when a tenant in common dies, his heirs inherit his interest in the real estate. So you may become (after probate) a part or co-owner of one or both homes with her. 
On the other hand, if he and she owned them as "joint tenants with right of survivorship," then on his death, she automatically become the sole, 100% owner. 
Since there is a chance you may own part of one or two homes, and also need help accessing your father's other belongings, you may wish to hire a probate lawyer to help you determine what is yours and make sure you get it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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