Who has the rights to possessions if a significant other passes away? 2 Answers as of January 19, 2011if a significant other passes away and there is no will, who has rights to their possessions? Is the family able to come in and take what they want? Do the possessions belong to the state? Who will the state contact?
Javia & Moore | Marisa-Andrea Moore
This is a great question. Generally, when a person passes away and does not leave a will, property was held in that person's name becomes the property of their estate and is inherited according to the intestate laws of either the state where the property is located or the state in which the deceased was domiciled (this depends upon a number of factors that go beyond the scope of this email). To determine who is entitled to inherit the deceased's possessions, probate proceedings would have to be initiated in Probate Court and the court would determine, according to applicable state laws, who is entitled to what property. In most jurisdictions, the Probate Court has a form that a family member or personal representative can fill out and file in order to initiate probate proceedings. Moreover, when probate proceedings have been initiated, property cannot be sold or taken without approval from the Probate Court. For more information, please contact an estate planning or probate attorney.
Answer Applies to: California