If someone dies without a Will, who will inherits their belongings? 32 Answers as of May 14, 2014

He has a girlfriend who he lived with and she will not release any of his belonging. What do I do?

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
If there is no will, then a girlfriend would not be entitled to any assets unless they are jointly owned by her or she is a named beneficiary of that asset.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 5/14/2014
Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
Suggest you talk to an experienced trust and estates practictioner. An experienced estate attorney in MD should be able to handle this type of matter and to protect the interests of the client. Please note that, in accordance with the MD Code of Professional Responsibility for Attorneys, a signed engagement letter is necessary in order to engage my legal services. If I can be of any help to you or people you know, contact me as I would be pleased to provide tax/legal support.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 5/2/2014
Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
The girlfriend does not inherit any of his belongings. The order would be his children then parents and siblings. She has no claim to his property unless they each contributes money to purchase the items.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 5/1/2014
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
In essence, the legal intestate (no will) succession in the State of Florida is spouse, children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. In that order. According to the circumstances, the determination of who and how much each would inherit would depend on each case. But the bottom line is the cousins will inherit only if no one from the other classes are living. If none of the classes are living and there are titled possessions (real property. cars, boats, etc.), a judge will have to make the determination as to how the titled possessions will be disbursed.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/1/2014
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
If unmarried, 100% of his belongings are distributed to his children in equal shares. Go to the probate court, open the estate with you as executor and go get his assets. If she resists, get a court order.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 5/1/2014
    Borzilleri Law Office | Christine Borzilleri
    When a person does without a will they are said to have died "intestate". While each states laws differ on the inheritance of the estate, the next of kin, as determined by those laws, will be awarded the property. This is generally either the parents, spouse, or children of the deceased. A girlfriend or boyfriend has no claim to the estate unless their name is on the asset. The probate court in your area has jurisdiction over the distribution of the estate, and since it seems like this could be a battle, I highly recommend hiring a local probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    His legal heirs inherit and a girlfriend is not an heir. Contact an attorney to discuss the assets and either file for probate or do summary proceedings to get the assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
    First, you didn't say who you are. If you are his child or parent, you are in a position to file an intestate administration. His belongings (after all debts are paid) will then go to the relatives as outlined in the intestate succession statute.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    If there is no Will, the the assets pass in the fashion listed under your state law for intestacy. You can goggle that as to your state probate code. A girlfriend has no legal rights to anything that he owned (she might try to claim that she paid for the item).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Did the decedent have any children? If the decedent was not married, then his children are his heirs. If he did not have any children, his parents would be his next of kin. Contact a probate attorney to discuss the line of succession determined by the State of California when a person dies without a will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Provda Law Firm
    Provda Law Firm | Bruce Provda
    Usually it would be the next of kin if there is no will. You could take it to probate court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It depends on what the belongings are. How much are they worth? You can open a probate estate and petition the court to order their return. If they belonged to the decedent, then they become the property of the estate, upon his death. If they were jointly owned by the decedent and the girlfriend, they would now belong to her. It is often difficult to tell who owns what, when you are talking about this kind of asset, because there is no "title" to say who owns it. This is where the expression "possession is 9/10s of the law" comes from. Whether it is worth it to challenge this depends on the nature of the assets in question. If the girlfriend is found guilty of converting the assets, she could be held responsible for three times the value of the assets, whatever that might be.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Girlfriends get nothing. Generally speaking, and it may be different from state to state, but if you die without a will, your estate goes to: First the deceased descendants (kids, grand-kids.) Second if no descendants, to the deceased's parents. Third if no parents, to the deceased's siblings. It gets more obscure after that, but girlfriends and boyfriends get nothing.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    John Russo | John Russo
    You need to file a probate action, his estate will be disbursed according to the intestate laws of you'r jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    When a person dies without a will, he dies intestate. If he is not married, his estate would go to his children and, if no children, then his parents. If no parents, then his siblings. The girlfriend get nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    The stuff belongs to his closest relatives, not the girlfriend. You need to find an attorney that does probate for an intestate succession.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If there is no Will then the assets of the deceased are distributed in accordance with the Statute on Descent and Distribution. If there is a spouse and no descendants the spouse receives all. If there is a spouse and descendants then the spouse receives ? and the descendants divide ?. If no spouse or descendants then it is equally divided among the parents and siblings, with a single eligible parent taking a double share if the other eligible parent predeceased the decedent and the children of a predeceased sibling equally sharing in the portion the predeceased sibling would have received if alive at the time of death of the decedent. If you open an estate and have a representative appointed the representative can begin an action to recover the belongings on behalf of the estate. Personal property is tricky because it may be difficult to prove if the girlfriend or the decedent purchased the household items.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Closest relatives; certainly not the GF. See Probate code 6400 et seq.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Office of Linda K. Frieder
    Law Office of Linda K. Frieder | Linda K. Frieder, Esq.
    Intestate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, who inherits from an intestate (no will) decedent depends on who survives the decedent. Usually the spouse and children will inherit first, but parents, descendants, siblings, and more distant relatives may inherit based on who is alive. The personal representative (executor) or a special administrator can have authority to gather and protect estate assets, so someone may petition the Orphans' Court/Register of Wills to obtain that authority to deal with the decedent's belongings that are being held by the surviving girlfriend.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    Get a court order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    When someone dies without a Will, their assets pass pursuant to the laws of intestacy of their State. For more details, consult with an attorney specializing in estate administration.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Anyone who has an interest in the estate - family member, creditor, next door neighbor - can file a petition in probate court to be named executor/personal representative and oversee the distribution of the estate according to the state's intestacy laws. Generally after all debts and taxes have been paid, the heirs are: surviving spouse, then descendants of the deceased. If there aren't any of those, then the deceased's parents inherit, followed by deceased's siblings and their descendants. Usually, non-spouses such as girlfriends have no right to or claim on the estate unless the deceased and the non-spouse purchased things together such as a house, furniture, vehicles, etc. The probate court can enforce the statutes and determine what property belongs in the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    This is called intestate probate. The probate laws of the state dictate who inherits the property. Contact your local probate court or an Estate Planning Lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If a person dies in Oregon with no will, their spouse inherits; if there is no spouse, then children inherit in equal shares. The thing is, is there enough to do a probate? Did he have real property, or bank and brokerage accounts that need to be transferred? Or is it just his things? If there's property worth fighting over, petition the court to be named administrator of the estate and then petition the court for an order directing girlfriend to turn over his things.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C. | Arthur Geffen
    When a person dies without a will, the laws of intestacy of the state in which he/she lives control. Typically the people who would inherit are as follows: First: children Second: Parents Third; Brothers and Sisters Fourth; nieces and nephews. I will add that girlfriends are not descendants.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Home Town Law, P.A.
    Home Town Law, P.A. | Sabina Tomshinsky
    The distribution of the decedent's intestate estate would be governed by Florida's intestacy laws. In particular, Section 732.103 of the Florida Probate Code lists the intestate succession when the decedent is not survived by a spouse. It would be prudent to consult with a probate attorney in your area for further guidance specific to your case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Your state determines who the heirs are by statute. In Idaho, first to spouse, then to children, then to parents, then to children of parents. If you are related, you can open a probate estate. I suggest you contact a local attorney to discuss the issues involved.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    In the absence of a will I believe his estate would go to his children, and if he left no children, to his parents, if they predeceased him, then split equally with his siblings (brothers and sisters). Any heir has the right to act as personal representative and once appointed is legally allowed to collect his belongings. I advise contacting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The person next of blood kin would inherit the personal belongings of a deceased without a will directing there disposition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    You can file a petition to probate the estate and have yourself appointed the personal representative. That gives you the legal power to take possession of the decedent's property. You can do a small estate affidavit if the value is less than $200,000.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/1/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    His closest family members should speak with an attorney about initiating a probate proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/1/2014
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