My dad had no will and his girlfriend is living in his house and has everything .. Im his only child what do i do ?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My dad had no will and his girlfriend is living in his house and has everything .. Im his only child what do i do ?

My dads livein girlfriend wont let me
have any of my fathers things ..They
werent married ..but she signed his
death certificate as next of kin and
stated she was his wife .. All i wanted
was 1 of the 3 vechiles ..and his
necklace and his hunting rifles and gun
cabinet ..She has the house and
everything else .. I need help ..My dad
didnt have a will .he died suddenly from
liver failure..due to sarcomatoid
carcenoma..a very rare cancer..he lived
in Tuscaloosa al .. Also .. Susans name
isnt on anything ..everything was in my
dads name only .. How do i get what is
rightfully mine ?

Asked on May 24, 2019 under Estate Planning, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You bring a legal action against her. She has NO right to anything that is not in her name or was not purchased by her (e.g. her clothing, her jewlery, etc.) because "girlfriend" is not a legally recognized relationshp: it does not give her any property or inheritance rights.
What you need to do is first contact the county probate court and apply to them to be appointed as the "personal representative" (PR) or "administrator" (some states use one term, some use the other) of his "estate," or everything he left behind. The PR or administrator is like the executor appointed by a will: he or she is the person with legal authority to manage the estate, pay any valid bills or expenses, and distribute the assets to the people who will inherit under "intestate succession," which is the rules for who gets what when there is no will. Since your father was not married when he passed, all his money, belongings, etc. (after paying valid bills or expenses) will go to his children; if you're an only child, it will all go to you.
Then, once you have been appointed as the PR, you can bring an action in county court to "eject," or remove, the girlfriend from his house, since if she is not an the deed or title, she has no right to remain there once the person with legal authority over the house wants her gone. (But you have to do this through the courts; you can't just lock her out.) You can also, as necessary, sue her for the value of any of this things that she has taken or disposed of, and/or for a court order that she return them.
We want to stress this: if she is just his girlfriend and her name is not on any title to property or vehicles, any bank accounts, etc. then everything will go to you. The legal actions we describe are complex for a nonlawyer, but with a house, three vehiciels, guns, his furniture and electronics, any money in the bank, etc. at stake, it is well worth it to hire a lawyer to help you.

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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