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When a couple lives together and has a child and one person passes awayan who is entitled to all properties?

New York, NY |

Me and my girlfriend has lived together for 7 years. She only worked 7 months out of the 7 years. We aquired properties such as TVs , bedroom sets that she is deceased who is entitled to all properties? Me and my daughter or her mother?

Attorney Answers 4


In New York state, if a decedent dies without a will (called intestate), the next of kin would inherit. In your case, her daughter is the next of kin (and any other children she has). Since her daughter is a minor, you can apply for voluntary letters as her natural guardian. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem. But if the estate is only personal property, they may waive it. If there is a wrongful death action, then it will be handled differently.

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The other argument here is that these personalty items are yours and that you paid for them. If you can prove that they are your assets. Otherwise the prior attorney's points are well taken and need to be considered.

Hope this helps. Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is . For further tax advice visit his website at . and blog at >

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is <> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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If you were not married to her you have no right to her property in probate. It all goes to her children equally. You might be considered half owner of the personal property if you helped to pay for it.
Joseph A. Bollhofer, Esq.
Joseph A. Bollhofer, P.C.
291 Lake Ave.
St. James, NY 11780

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Unless specifically stated otherwise, this communication shall not be deemed to be legal or tax advice, and no attorney-client relationship shall be deemed to have been created.

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If their is no will and the property is only tiltled in the name of the decedent the property passes through the laws of intesatacy. EPTL 4-1.1 spells out how the property is to be distributed.

Someone must petiton the Surrogate's Court to be appointed administrator of the estate. The law provides who has priority to do so. Once the administrator is appointed he gathers the asset, pays the debts of the estate and then distributes the assets. (This sound much simpler than it actually is.)

Remember only assets in the decendent's name alone pass through the Surrogate's Court. If their is a beneficiary designation, joint account designation or "in trust for" designation the general rule is that the assets pass to the designated beneficiary.

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