What to do if my father passed away without a Will and the woman he was living with refuses to turn over any legal documents in order for me to close out his bank accounts and contact his creditors?

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What to do if my father passed away without a Will and the woman he was living with refuses to turn over any legal documents in order for me to close out his bank accounts and contact his creditors?

He was not married and I am the oldest of his 3 children. I know he had 3 vehicles in his name, 2 of which were financed. Is there any legal means for me to make her provide any and requested information and/or documentation? He died last year.

Asked on January 28, 2016 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Whomever is appointed administrator or at least gets "letters testamentary" by  or from the court ("letters testamentary" let you acccess the deceased's belongings) could bring a legal action (lawsuit) against her to compel her to turn over any items, documents, money, etc. which belonged to him. The first step is to go to probate or surrogat's court and get the authority to act. Contact the court clerk, explain who you  are and the situation, and they'll explain what you need to get and what you need in terms of documentation to get the authority. Once you have the legal authority to act, you can then bring the legal action against the girlfriend. If she stole or refuses to return anything of his, she could even be sued for the monetary value of those items or cash.


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