Asked in Probate for Colorado

Q: My boss recently died and I had been living with him for about 7 months. Do I have some sort of rights to get my stuff?

One of my bosses friends girlfriend has somehow been put in control of his estate and won't allow anyone to even go on the property. She let me go there once to get his poor dog that was locked in the house but told me I couldn't take anything. I have quite a bit of stuff there and am hoping there's someway I can get it before everything is sold or whatever.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin Michael Strait
Kevin Michael Strait
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: You deserve access to your personal property. You do not automatically lose rights to your property when the owner of the property passes away. Look at Colorado Revised Statute § 30-40-101(1)(II)(C) which essentially states that a person "previously given permission to enter and remain on the premises" cannot easily be ejected or locked-out of the property without following some formal procedures.

One such formal procedure is C.R.S. § 30-40-108 which requires a person in control of a dwelling to give written notice asking you to move out of a property. There are also laws specifying how many days of grace period you have to access the home before any exclusions begin, such as changing the locks.

Your approach to this matter depends on if the home was owned by your boss or if your boss was renting it. It also depends on if you were paying any rent (anything at all) and if you can prove it. If your boss owned the house, and you were paying something for rent, your case is fairly strong on the facts you have shared.

Reach out to a landlord-tenant attorney or a probate attorney for advice. A landlord-tenant attorney can help you with your rights under the laws I mentioned above. A probate attorney can help you create a legal exception to the powers given to this new person trying to lock you out. Either approach has a good chance of succeeding.

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