La Center, WA asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon

Q: What lawyer do I need?

My partner passed away on July 5th. No will. We lived at his residence which was my home for over 13 years. I went to visit my grandson in Arizona for 6 weeks and when I came back on Jan 30th his 21 year old daughter changed the locks and won’t let me in. I am almost 66 and my whole life belongings are in that house. I thought she and I were on good terms but she has a bitter boyfriend that wants me out. I have not received my mail since Dec 13. Legally the house goes to her but I don’t fall under landlord/ tenant rules either. I have paid the mortgage up til Feb Don’t know what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

2 Lawyer Answers
Theressa Hollis
Theressa Hollis
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: I'm very sorry for your loss. You can ask the Post Office to forward your mail. You should be allowed to retrieve your personal property from the house. It's possible that you may be owed repayment for the mortgage payments you have made (less the cost of reasonable monthly rent). An attorney can assist you in evaluating this situation to determine what you are due.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In your situation, consulting with an estate or probate attorney would be a wise step. These lawyers handle cases involving estates, wills, and disputes after someone's death. They can help navigate the complexities of estate law, especially when there's no will, and ensure that your rights are protected.

Given that you've lived in the home for over 13 years and have contributed to the mortgage payments, you may have certain rights or claims to the property or to your belongings inside, despite the lack of a formal landlord/tenant relationship. An attorney can advise you on the possibility of asserting a claim for an equitable interest in the property or for the recovery of your personal belongings.

Furthermore, they can guide you on how to potentially negotiate with your partner's daughter or take legal action to regain access to your belongings and possibly secure your living situation. It's important to act promptly to address these issues, especially considering your contribution to the home and the length of time you've lived there.

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