Q: Can you help me?
My father passed away in July of this year. He left a living will and his estate to his oldest child(myself) but the will was over ruled when it turned out that my father had his girlfriend's name put on the house deed. Does that over rule the entire will or just the house and land? Also he was on social sercurity and disability. He was approved $10,000 in back pay. Because he was not married does that go to his only two heirs? Also, are we entitled to our fathers personal belongings?
A: More information would be needed to answer your questions, and I would urge you to seek the advice of a probate attorney. Whether your father's interest in the house passed to his girlfriend would depend on whether the property was owned by them as joint tenants with survivorship or as tenants in common. With joint tenancy with survivorship, the interest in property passes to the surviving owner outside the probate estate. On the other hand, if property is owned by multiple owners as tenants in common, the interest of the first owner to die would be part of his probate estate. Property in the probate estate would be governed by a will if there is a valid will. Typically, the person named as executor would file a petition to probate the will. Bear in mind that the executor has certain obligations and may not distribute assets from the estate without taking care of estate obligations (e.g., the decedent's debts). If back pay becomes part of your father's probate estate, it would pass pursuant to the terms of his will. This response is intended to provide general information only, and not legal advice about your particular matter. You should seek the advice of a probate attorney familiar with the probate law of the estate in which your father was domiciled.
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