Intestate small estate.

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Latest post Fri, Sep 16 2011 4:08 PM by adjuster jack. 11 replies.
  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 1:10 AM

    • Subership
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    Intestate small estate.

    I am the domestic partner, s.o. of a man who died unexpectadly without a will.  He had one living daughter whom he had raised since she was a teen due to "troubles" mom couldn't handle.  However; mom had her adopted by second husband at the age of 3.  When she left second husband, somehow he disowned daughter?  There are no public records showing daughter is related to deceased.  Only second husband.  But, 3 weeks before death, ex-wife showed up, began harrassing him, and upon my discovering his body, announced she was still his wife, and she and daughter claimed property, including mine, and began to "plot" ways to remove me.  It appears some of the 'plotting" started before his death.  No autopsy.  He had been yelling at ex wife to leave him alone and had been extremely tense preceeding his death.  So, I need info on how to file on my own, obtain any records available, and how this effects his estate.  I was not legally married to him.  Second issue is that people at work, for some reason believed I was his beneficiary and told the daughter that the morning after his death.  But, I found out, through the state office, my name wasn't on anything.  Yet, someone had exact information on what I was to inherit on his benefits.  He had told me he had removed the original beneficiary, and had made sure it was done a few weeks before his death.  I didn't ask him who he put.  He was supposed to remove the name of a girlfriend from 20 years ago.  He had tried 2 times in 2005, but apparently the paperwork didn't go through, so he had done it again.  But, now the original paperwork seems to be the only thing anyone has.  Whatever was witnessed and given to his direct supervisor with my name on it has disappeared.  Any input please.

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 12:30 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    Laymans guess:

    A divorced EX wife has no legal standing to inherit or do much of anything except bully.

    I don't think ones child who was adopted by another  stands to inherit by intestacy from the now deceased prior parent --but its a state specific question.

    Unless you  completed a same sex marriage in a state which recognizes same -even if you later moved--you are probably totally w/o standing in decedants affairs to inherit.

    A prior insurance designation probably stands as last of record with the insurance firm (Unless it was current wife of that time)  A change  in process  probably does not count even if all the right paperwork was going thru the system --it was not yet  a completed change .  For a change witnessed and delivered to supervisor to "disapper" smells--something suggests a bit more digging.  Can you discover the 'witness"

    Odds are close family has a legal prefence for selection if they seek role of administrator under intestacy . Look up  rules in your state. Odds are EX wife and adopted out  child are no longer close family. It may then become a bit of a race to courthouse to file first and seek court approval--and apparently some states give a lot of weight to first to file --in any event --its not hard to file--so why not do so like immediately, file first, sort out details later??  

    The duly lettered administrator has a big edge to go  asking about prior paperwork and manage his final affairs etc----if you are not in that roll your official leverage to get access to possible answers may be close to zippo.

    The administrator gets a modest fee out of estate and has hower to hire counsel at estates expense etc..so its a very useful roll-perhaps the only real possible roll for you.



  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 1:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Intestate small estate.

    You'll need to open probate with the court and see if you can get appointed representative or administrator of the estate.

    If you can get appointed it gives you court backed authority to get information and documents from those who hold them.

    You can google Oregon probate and see if you can learn enough to do it yourself.

    If not, you'll need a lawyer. And that can get expensive.

    Basically, though, as a domestic partner, you have no rights. If you have personal property at your SO's residence and have no documentation of ownership you are likely to lose it all.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 1:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Intestate small estate.

    You've posted about this elsewhere, without the DP angle.

    "There are no public records showing daughter is related to deceased."

    I gather that means that the birth certificate was changed.

    Doesn't matter what the ex-wife claims.

    "So, I need info on how to file on my own, obtain any records available, and how this effects his estate."

    File *what* on your own?  In any event, no one can walk you through the probate administration process from here if that's what you mean.  If you know of no other relatives of his, you're free to file to be appointed administrator and note that you know of no other legal heirs (which would be true).  As administrator you'd have the power to go after the former legal daughter for stuff she took, but that might not be practical or productive use of time, energy and resources.

    "Second issue is that people at work, for some reason believed I was his beneficiary and told the daughter that the morning after his death.  But, I found out, through the state office, my name wasn't on anything."

    Not clear what "state office" you're referring to, but I presume he worked for the state.

    If he "tried 2 times" to change beneficiary paperwork, I would hope at the third time he'd keep a copy of whatever he did (at work or elsewhere).  That said, bottom line is that a plan administrator only has to go by what's on record; who knows whether they'd accept a copy of something he kept dated before his death.  Not clear why he'd hand over such paperwork to a supervisor vs. benefits department/plan administrator folks (if it's the same supervisor as years ago, kinda a good reason not to use the same route).

     

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 1:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Intestate small estate.

    I trust you understand that if he didn't leave a will naming you (or if you can't find any other relatives of his, no matter how distant) that at best all you could do is hope that his estate debt sucks up the value of whatever you could pry back from whomever (including administrator compensation to you for administering his estate). 

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 2:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Intestate small estate.

    Subership:
    I am the domestic partner, s.o. of a man who died unexpectadly without a will.

    O.k, I don't assume anything and there are some facts that are not clear from your post, so a few points need to be cleared up.

    First, in what state is this taking place? State laws govern this, and so it matters where the man was living when he died. If that state was Oregon (as indicated by the state shown with you log-in name) are you a same sex domestic partner who has entered into a "domestic partnership" under Oregon law?

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 2:21 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    Many states have a simplified procedure for small estates. Some states have a small estate procedure for probate and then a summary administration procedure for estates of "intermediate value". Court clerks cannot give you legal advice, but you should be able to determine if his possible estate fits within small or summary estate guidelines via a phone call to the local probate court. In CA, a small estate would have a total personal property value of less than $100,000. If any of the property is real estate, the value of that real estate cannot exceed $20,000. (My info may be a little dated, but that should give you a general idea of what might be considered a small estate.)

    That being said, proceeds of life insurance, 401k, 403b plans, retirement plans, etc., generally bypass probate. If he had such accounts, he should have filed a designation of beneficiary for them and that is who is likely to receive the monies, if any, in such accounts.

    The adoption should have terminated his parental rights. His biological daughter is a legal stranger and, in most states, would have no legal standing to inherit anything under instestacy. Ex-wifes generally do not qualify either under intestacy.

    However, that leaves other next-of-kin in line to inherit. Did he have any siblings? Is he survived by a parent(s)? They are going to be in line way ahead of you.

    Even though some of his assets may not be subject to probate, getting those letters of administration might allow you to acquire info about them that otherwise would not be available to you. So, it may be worthwhile to you to get those letters just so you can waive them at the local bank or send a copy to the state retirement plan, insurance company, etc.

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 2:55 PM In reply to

    • Subership
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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    He had siblings.  I don't expect to inherit anything of his.  I want my belongings back.  The daughter also wants my belongings.  That's the problem.  I don't know what was going on with the retirement and life insurance.  He had filled out the forms 3 times I know of, but they somehow seem to have disappeared between Portland and Salem.  His co workers who witnessed them, were the ones who thought it was my name on them.  But, somehow, the US governments seems to have misplaced what they witnessed.  The daughter is claiming what she can as immediate heir on things not marked.  The ex wife is probably trying for government benefits  for spouses and ex spouses who have had a child with the government worker.  I suspect that is the reason she all of the sudden started claiming they were married.  I do have a domestic partnership that states he wasn't married to anyone else.  But no one seems to be asking for documentation of their relationship.  there is documentation and witnesses regarding my belongings.  Obviously, they are not worth what it would cause me to file with an attorney's assistance.  The sisters had agreed to see my belongings returned when they wanted to be executor.  The police...daughter filed a complaint I was robbing her, when I brought her something she had asked for, then called the police when I got there...told me I had more rights than I realized, but had to take it through court.  That's expensive.  They were referring to my belongings only.  And, fortunately a neighbor was with me and witnessed the whole thing, so her ploy didn't work.  I have sent her a letter itemizing what is mine and my son's.

     


  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 2:58 PM In reply to

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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    I do understand this.  That is what he told me he anticipated happening with his belongings.  Most of what I want back is actually tools from my Dad and stuff I used to cook with in the kitchen.  My son also had belongings there.  Nothing big.  And, of course the dogs which are in my posession.  I'm the only one on any ownership papers on them.

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 3:06 PM In reply to

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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    I am in Oregon.  We were not a same sex couple and didn't refile paperwork in 2008 when the same sex law took place.  It was simply common knowledge to everyone who knew us.  I was his only social contact on a regular basis outside of work.  Daughter he tolerated, but had some issues with.

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 3:14 PM In reply to

    • Subership
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    Re: Intestate small estate.

    I'm not sure, I'm posting replies right.  I am in Oregon.  He was a bit of a hermit, but most everyone who knew us knew we were together.  I don't even want his belongings.  I want mine, and I want the daughter to leave me alone about my dogs (which are with me).  She claims they are hers because she states she is his heir, and she was taking them to the vet....which I knew she did and reimbursed him the money for it.  But, she put her name on things with the vet without me knowing.  This attitude from her is totally new and started with the arrival of her mother 3 weeks before he died.  I do not have money, I have been temporarily disabled this past year, to hire attorneys.  The belongings I have there, he had moved there because we were moving back into same houses.  We had a non traditional living arrangement the past couple of years, which we both liked due to my being caretaker to a family member.  What I want back, I can document somewhat as mine.  She also knows it is.  I don't know about the insurance business.  If she hadn't called me upset the next day telling me she had been notified I was sole beneficiary, I wouldn't have even known anything.  I only knew he had been trying to remove the name of his ex girlfriend from several years ago.  He worked for the BLM.  He would've handed it in to the appropriate person in Portland.  Apparently whatever they referred to never made it to Salem.  I know he had tried to change it 3 times since 2005, and believed he had finally gotten it changed.  The only reason I know this is that we had just went to the funeral of my cousin and we were talking about it.

     

  • Fri, Sep 16 2011 4:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Intestate small estate.

    Subership:
     What I want back, I can document somewhat as mine

    Then I think your best option is to sue her in small claims court for the used value of the items. A quick look at Oregon small claims info indicates that you can only sue for money and not the return of property. But once she is served with a summons and complaint and has to face the idea of going to court and getting a judgment against her personally she may turn out more cooperative about giving you your stuff back.

    Somebody else might mention that technically the items belong to the estate and your action would be more proper against the estate.

    But my theory is that she is wrongfully possessing the items that belong to you and suing her puts the pressure on her.

    Small claims court would be the cheapest and quickest way of pursuing this as long as you are willing to just walk away from everything else involved with the estate.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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