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Options to reclaim mother's personal property from nonrelative's home after her passing?

Sonora, CA |

My mother moved to CA 18 months ago and resided with a boyfriend (not listed in Will, not relative). Since her passing 2 months ago, her boyfriend has been uncooperative in attempts to close estate and regain personal property for inventory (heirlooms and assets to cover debts of estate). Intent was to settle estate without Probate due to estate being less than 100K (CA Probate law); however, he has already liquidated some financial accounts prior to inventory/recording - he is fully aware of her debts needing to be settled. Only identified Will is ten years old and unexecuted, but names her sister as Executer and children as heirs. What recourse is available to regain personal property from his home? Is he able to take action on any accounts prior to Executor inventoring?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. I would start by getting an attorney involved asap. Usually a letter will from an attorney will help remedy the situation. If not, unfortunately the only option you have is to take him to court.

    The unsigned will has no force and effect, but you, as a child, have the standing and priority to go into court and address this if needed.


  2. The will is ineffective so all property passes through laws of intestacy. As your mother's boyfriend refuses to cooperate, your first step would be to contact a probate attorney for your options. Once the boyfriend knows an attorney is on board, the situation may improve quickly.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  3. You should contact an experienced trusts and estates attorney near you, and soon. The unsigned will has no effect. Your mother's property will pass to her heirs at law, her children. Whether or not the boyfriend is entitled to the accounts will depend on whether they were joint accounts held in both of their names, or if whether the accounts had "pay on death" instructions and he was named as the payee.

    This general response is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


  4. See a Probate ATtorney immediately and get a Petition to probate the estate filed immediately. The Probate attorney will know what to do regarding the boyfriend. No one can do anything without court authority.

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