My partner passed away. I inherited both homes. My parnter's sister went into my home and took everything out, including all of the appliances. Do I have any recourse?
Estate Planning Attorney
The fact that you describe the person with whom you jointly owned this property as a "partner" leads me to believe that you were not married, so Arizona community property law doesn't apply. It sounds like the property you're talking about is not "real" property (the homes), but "personal" property (the items in the homes). If you feel that this person wrongly took items properly belonging to you, you'll need to file a claim in small claims, justice, or superior court, depending on the value of the items. If you have receipts showing that you bought them, that is great; if your partner owned them and left them to people in a will (devised them) then the will should control. Depending on the amount of money (value of property) in question, you may want to work with an attorney near you on this matter.
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There is usually a state law presumption that between a married couple, all household goods aquired during the relationship are jointly owned, and so succeed to the sole ownership of the survivor. However, as you may suspect, that when you say partner, if by that you mean an un-married domestic companion, then the usual presumption would not apply.
If your partner had a will stating that you were to have all the contents, however, then they were yours and she has wrongfully taken them.
When you say "inherit" to a lawyer that suggests there wasn't a will, so I am wondering how you got ownership of the homes-- was that a joint ownership between the two of you? That may not help for the contents.
If when you say "partner" you mean partner not in the sense of companionship, rather, in the sense of a general partnership, meaning a business carried on by two or more persons for profit, then the items if partnership property must be returned to the surviving partner, ie, you.
Hence there is not enough information to answer your question, but perhaps you can take this information and hire a lawyer in your location to evaluate your specific rights and remedies.
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