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I just found out my father passed away and I was not notified of it. I am legally his next of kin and info was withheld from me.

Phoenix, AZ |

I was not speaking to my father because of some issues he caused with my credit a few years back, but I just found out he passed away without a will and his girlfriend withheld the information from me. I would like to recover my childhood photos that he had and also some family heirlooms. I also would like to know what happened to the firearms that were registered to him in California as they should legally belong to me. I also want to know how the funeral home and hospital let her make the decisions to pull the plug and what to do with the body when she was not next of kin and DID not have POA. I believe I should have been notified? What are my legal rights?

Attorney Answers 2


Short answer is you cut him out of your life because he messed up your credit or whatever and he may have decided to cut you out of his life too. Do you KNOW he did not have an Advance Directive? He may have signed one just before he went into the hospital. In CA that allows the Agent, [his girlfriends perhaps] the legal authority to handle his final disposition. As to his assets, if there was no Will, you can still petition to be appointed Administrator of his estate and the assets would pass by intestate succession to his children in the absence of a surviving spouse. You can also call the girlfriend and ask her about the personal belongings before you go in with metaphoric guns blazing.

Use the web site to find an attorney in your area. In addition to that, contact your local bar association for referral to an attorney who specializes in this or talk to friends and neighbors to ask about an attorney they have used and liked. Often, but not always, the attorney will do an initial consultation free of charge. You will then be in a better position to determine what to do next. Best of luck to you!

If you liked this answer, click on the thumbs up! Thanks. Eliz. C. A. Johnson Post Office Box 8 Danville, California 94526-0008 Legal disclaimer: I do not practice law in any state but California. As such, any responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to a general understanding of law in California and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.

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The girlfriend does not have a legal obligation to call you. If you make written demand for a will, and there is one, she is obligated to turn one over. If you are a lawful heir and there is an intestacy (no will) then she has an obligation to hold his property for the benfit of his heirs after all his bills are paid, if any heirs step forward and make a claim. If his assets are less than his bills, you would not receive anything.
I agree that you should ask nicely first before getting a lawyer involved.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice.

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