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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100025
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My partner for 25 years ha passed away and we were not

Customer Question

my partner for 25 years ha passed away and we were not legally married. we have life insurance policies for each other and I will need a death certificate in New york state. what do I need to do to get the death certificate if his daughter refused to give me a copy
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: new york
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: not yet. he just passed tuesday, I dont know what the process is
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: also we co own a property together, he has 3 children and i wanted to know can they take a legal action against me?
Submitted: 25 days ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am very sorry to hear about your loss. You have a right to request a copy of the death certificate even if you are not family. You can get this document if you are: The spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased, OR, Other persons who have a: documented lawful right or claim, documented medical need, or New York State Court Order.

Someone in your situation fall under "documented lawful right or claim."

You can order a copy from the NY Dept of Public Health by mail, internet, or telephone - see HERE.

Can who take legal action against you? The daughter? I do not see how. Life insurance policy is OUTSIDE of probate, so his surviving family does not have a claim to it even if they were not included.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
what about the property we own together? It is a co-op we had for 7 years and is my primary residence,
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.
1) Whose name is ***** *****?
2) Did you purchase it together? Or was yours/his name added later?
This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
we purchased it together both of our names are ***** ***** property but I paid the down payment and paid off the mortgage and I continue to pay the maintenance
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.
Thank you.
Are you JOINT TENANTS or TENANTS IN COMMON? Check the deed and also see here:
nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/realProperty/ConcurrentOwnership/JointTenancy.asp
If you are joint tenants, then his interest is "absorbed" by you at time of his passing, meaning his 1/2 does not go to his family.
If you are tenants in common, then 1/2 of the property is divided between his family (or, if he had a Will, it goes to whoever is mentioned as the beneficiary in the Will). If so, then you may end up being co-owners with someone from his family. IF SO, then if the parties cannot get along, EITHER party can ask for a PARTITION from the Court (request to buy the other party out or to sell the property and split the proceeds by interest).
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
according to the mortgage agreement it is listed s joint tenants. what will I need to do to release his name off of the property?
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.
Okay. You want to make sure you are JOINT TENANTS WITH RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP. This is important. If not sure, you may have to have an attorney review the documents.
If so, then the joint tenant may remove the name by taking a death certificate to the document public land records office, showing that one joint owner has died and that the surviving co-owner (i.e. you) is now the sole owner of the property. HOWEVER, this is complicated by the fact that his family may file probate, in which case his name may be taken off by the Executor. It all depends on many nuances.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
he wrote a document when he was sick stating his wishes if he passed. it was not notarized or legally binding. the money he left is in my name and bank accounts. under the circumstances with the children what do I need to do and legally does this letter have any standing?
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.
Does that document have TWO WITNESSES that signed it as well?
If it does, then it may be a valid will. If it does not, it is not a valid will, arguably.
Regardless, the money in a bank account shared by someone else typically does NOT fall under the will, and most of the time the bank simply takes his name off the account.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
there are no witness who signed the socument and the bank account is in my name only,
Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.

Then, the Will is not valid.

And no, the family cannot come after you - it is your money, not his.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 25 days ago.
Here is a summary of our conversation:
-bank accounts in your name only are not liable to be "grabbed" by probate action
-if you and he held property together as joint tenants, the property may be yours wholly. If the property was held as tenants in common, his 1/2 will go to his heirs.
-a non-witness document does not satisfy requirements of a valid Will
-insurance policy is outside probate and cannot be touched by them
-you can request a copy of the death certificate even if not family
Good luck.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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