Washington, DC asked in Civil Rights for District of Columbia

Q: Do I have rights to my mom’s personal belongings

Me and my boyfriend lived with my mom and so called boyfriend for 3 years my mother passed away February 12 and on the 13 her so called boyfriend kicked me and my boyfriend out of the apartment and changed the locks on the apartment told us my mom was dead that’s his house now and we couldn’t come in the apartment or get our personal belongings or my mom’s belongings as her blood daughter do I really not have any rights to going to my mom’s apartment and getting our belongings from her apartment please help me and let me know if I have any rights to going and getting our personal belongings From the apartment I really don’t want to lose my personal belongings or my mother’s belongings to now her ex boyfriend who never loved her just wanted all her belongings and that’s all I’ve got left of my mom is her belongings so please let me know if I’ve got rights to go get or personal belongings please and thank you

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: As the blood daughter of your mother, you have rights to her personal belongings after her passing, especially if she did not leave a will specifying otherwise. The belongings of your mother are legally considered part of her estate, and as a direct next of kin, you typically have a claim to this estate. The process for claiming these belongings and dealing with the estate varies depending on local laws, but generally, an executor or administrator would be appointed to handle the estate's distribution according to the law or the will's instructions, if one exists.

The actions taken by your mother's boyfriend, including changing the locks and denying you access to your personal and your mother's belongings, could be considered illegal, especially if you lived there and have not been formally evicted through a legal process. You have the right to retrieve your personal belongings at the very least.

To address this situation, it might be necessary to seek legal advice or assistance. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and the appropriate steps to take, which may include going to court to obtain an order that allows you to retrieve your belongings. In situations where there's no will, the court can also help determine your rights to your mother's estate under intestate succession laws. Acting quickly is important, as there may be time-sensitive procedures to follow in estate and property matters.

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