significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

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Latest post 03-06-2008 8:27 PM by LIMAMA. 28 replies.
  • 03-03-2008 6:11 PM

    Sad [:(] significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    My sister lived with her boyfriend for 26 yrs. in his house. He just died. Before he died he stated to his daughter, her husband and their son in front of my sister that he wanted my sister to have the house. He also told his brother and a nephew the same thing. The daughter is now going for everything. Does my sis have any legal rights? When can they force her out of the house? Does she have a time frame that this could occur? There is no will. How long does it take to get appointed executor of the estate. Does she have to give the daughter keys to the house if she is still living there? She wanted the keys the day he died and my sis said no because the police told us it is still her residence too. I need help for her...she is in so much grief .
  • 03-03-2008 6:37 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] Inside

    This could get very complicated.

    Several issues are posible. Sis will need a lawyer to succeed on them.

    First common law marriage.
    Did the two ever live in one of these states:

    http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/pg/2/objectId/709FAEE4-ABEA-4E17-BA34836388313A3C/catId/697DBAFE-20FF-467A-9E9395985EE7E825/118/304/192/FAQ/

    If yes, they may be married and not know it.

    Second. Contracts.

    If daughter agreed with the other heirs and person to the desired disposition, then she may be bound by contract law.

    Next, contract to make a Will. Sister may have lived with him so long BECAUSE she understood that he would leave her the estate. Detremental Relianse as the law calls it, may get the Court to create a Will for her.

    When can they force her out of the house?
    A Not for a while. They would need get a probate going and try an eviction. But sis can seek relief as a dependant of the deceased, in California it is called a Family Allowance - being family is not required. It wopuld be in the state's probate code.


    Does she have a time frame that this could occur?
    A. 30 days min for a probate then eviction time maybe another 30 days.

    There is no will. How long does it take to get appointed executor of the estate. A. 30 days absent an emergency (can be one day, but not likely here)

    Does she have to give the daughter keys to the house if she is still living there? A Absolutely not.

    Good luck,

    HatTrick


    HatTrick

  • 03-03-2008 6:43 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Inside

    Also, an oral Will may be valid in limited circumstance...like on a death bed with death iminate - no time to write a will. Need witnesses and proof of iminate death.

    HatTrick

  • 03-03-2008 6:47 PM In reply to

    re: Inside

    Another contract idea - duaghter may have agreed with dad too, to see the estate go they way he wanted - that too may be an enforseable contract.

    See if you can get daughter to Admit in writing or to witnesses the facts which would drive a contract home.

    Get sis a lawyer.

    HatTrick

  • 03-03-2008 6:48 PM In reply to

    re: Inside

    My sis is very naive and innocent and in so much grief so I am very concerned she could get railroaded by the daughter. I am not sure that the daughter "agreed" when her dad told her that my sis should get the house. It appears she is going for everything.
    Am I to understand that sis does not have to let the daughter in the house to look for papers?
    My sister also does not make much money...is there some place she can go for legal aid and not have to go in debt ?
    She lives in WI so no common law marriage here.
    She has been told for years by her partner that he would leave her the house.
    He also made sis beneficiary on his burial policy. He did not even want my sis to call daughter if and when he died. My sis thought that she should so she did call and inform her dad was in the hospital and very ill.
  • 03-03-2008 7:00 PM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Boyfriends and girlfriends don't have legal heirship status.

    His statements to his family members aren't legally binding. He should have either made a will or put her on the deed as joint tenant w/ right of survivorship.

    "When can they force her out of the house?"

    After they give her proper notice of termination of her tenancy.

    "Does she have to give the daughter keys to the house if she is still living there?"

    Have to? No. But once daughter gets formally appointed administrator, she'll be free to contact a locksmith and secure the property.

    Your sister should be talking with a local real estate attorney who does landlord-tenant law, or reading up on WI landlord-tenant law.

    "... because the police told us it is still her residence too."

    True, but her legal status is as a tenant I'm afraid.

  • 03-03-2008 7:05 PM In reply to

    re: Inside

    Unless and until sister gets a proper 28-day advance written notice by someone who is *formally appointed administrator of the homeowner/landlord's estate*, I'd rebuff any attempts to tell me to "get out", etc. She's what's known as a tenant at will (and I'd verify with a local real estate attorney experienced in L-T law that she has a solid status as a tenant even though-if she hadn't been paying rent).

    But I'm afraid sis needs to start planning on a new place to live.

    Sis (or you on her behalf) needs to start reading up:

    http://datcp.state.wi.us/cp/consumerinfo/cp/cp_laws/landlord_tenant/lt_relationship.pdf

    http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/cp/consumerinfo/cp/cp_laws/landlord_tenant/lt_relationship_details.pdf


    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/atcp/atcp134.pdf
  • 03-03-2008 7:41 PM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Your sis is up a creek without a paddle. BF could have done things much differently to protect her, now everything goes to his heirs. What he said is not legally binding.
  • 03-04-2008 7:41 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Thank you Hat trick for your comments. I do understand that my sis does need a lawyer. I have contacted one who says the verbal announcement about his wishes could possibly mean something for sis. Personally, it sounds to me like an uphill battle and lots of legal fees. What do you think? Thanks for your replies.
    The wishes were not on his death bed but made for years.
  • 03-04-2008 7:44 AM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Also, if there is a will...does it have to be filed with the state? My understanding is that a lot of people just keep them in a safe place until the person dies? What if one is found at a later date? Is there anywhere we can look to find one besides going through all his papers?
  • 03-04-2008 8:21 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
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    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Laymans take:

    1. One place to look for a will is to any attorney decedant used in past.

    2.Absent a will I think your friend is up a seerious creek as she is but a friend not an heir at law:

    3. Unless she can show common law marriage in someother state.

    4. Living with somebody in detrimental reliance upon a promise of care is a hard point to make-especially if other person is dead and cannot testify--but its WORTH CONSIDERING.

    5. Generally oral wills apply to very narrow corcumstances such as active duty service folks about to die.

    6. She has no apparent basis for sole use of the home, administrator would seem to have a very valid right to enter and make use on behalf of estate.

    7. She may not even hold tenant status in WI,and as a live in guest of the owner the adminstrator could merely toss guests.

    8. If your friend puts up a very solid poker hand she may be able to cut a written deal with the administrator and the heirs for some elements of what was promised her. She needs to do a solid job of playing poker and barter --PLUS she needs to get it in writing and signed by the responsible administrator duly appointed and /or all relevant heirs. She needs to deal with people capable of being held to the deal! I think NOW while sympathy runs high is the time to get it done.

    8.1 My guess this is 90% a social resolution and 10% tops a legal resolution. I fail to see her legal leveage point--but she may be able o make the detrimental reliance point smell like it may work--and thus leverage a solution BEFORE the rest of family digs too deep into legal issues.

    Were I in her shoes I might ask for a life estate?

    And I'l keep his insurance policy to me very low key--its mine but no need to rub it in or to use it to pay estate expenses.

    Just one mans lay opinion of issues and odds.



  • 03-04-2008 10:45 AM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    Google the "Dead Man Act" in relation to probate and estate and you will understand why your sister has literally no leverage.

    The only to produce a will in hiding by someone is for someone to step up and ask the court to be administered to execute or be the personal rep for the estate. If someone has a will that is to their benefit...but if not, than the estate is distributed according to state law.

    The other side may want to settle for a low fee just to avoid incurring further lawyer fees.
  • 03-04-2008 1:03 PM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    "Also, if there is a will...does it have to be filed with the state?"

    It should be, yes. No one can take any official action on behalf of his estate until they are appointed administrator/executor/personal rep of the estate.

    "What if one is found at a later date?"

    Then you submit it and see what happens.

    "Is there anywhere we can look to find one besides going through all his papers?"

    Hire a psychic??

    "I have contacted one who says the verbal announcement about his wishes could possibly mean something for sis."

    Yeah, well, before I handed over a bunch of money to the dolt on a losing battle, I'd expect him-her to cough up a written legal opinion citing case law and statute, and an analysis of same with a conclusion stating why he-she thinks such a case is a winner.

    She's free to argue they had some kind of partnership agreement, but unless his estate is worth a really large amount of money and she's willing to gamble a similarly large amount of money on the outcome here....
  • 03-04-2008 1:39 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    "Have to? No. But once daughter gets formally appointed administrator, she'll be free to contact a locksmith and secure the property."

    No. an appointed representative will have to do an eviction first. The rep can not just change the locks with out a court order of eviction.

    HatTrick

  • 03-04-2008 1:42 PM In reply to

    re: significant other dies...what are rights of surviving partner

    "Is there anywhere we can look to find one besides going through all his papers?"


    You may look in old check books to see if a lawyer was paid. Contact the lawyer if you find one, and ask about a copy of any will.

    Safety Deposit box at his bank.

    HatTrick

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