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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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I have a friend, Joey whose father, Joseph passed away about

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I have a friend, Joey whose father, Joseph passed away about a week ago. Joseph was not married but did have a live-in girlfriend. Joey is Joseph's only child, so should be his successor, right? The girlfriend has changed locks on the house and refuses to let Joey have anything of his father's, although she has been moving things out. She stated that Joseph had made a will, but later said it was done online and the computer is now broken. She also called the police when Joey came over asking for paperwork. What can Joey do?
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

Joey needs to go to the probate court in the county where his father died. He can request that the probate court appoint him administrator of his father's estate. Once Joey is appointed administrator, that puts him in control over all his father's assets, including the home and the personal property. When he is in control he can get the local Sheriff to assist him in having the girlfriend removed from the home.

As an aside, a will used that is just on the computer. An original signed copy is required to prove that she get assets.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

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Thank you,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you the quick response.

I gave Joey your information, he'll be going to the probate court tomorrow and hopefully get control of this messy situation.

Initially the girlfriend said Joseph had a hand-written will, giving all assets to Joey. When asked a few days later, she then said it was an online will in a broken computer she couldn't access. If Joey should find a written will or can prove one was destroyed, would she be subject to any legal action?


Sorry for the delay. I was searching the Washington Statutes. Unfortuately it is not a crime in Washington to hide or destroy a will.

Regardless, he does not want a Will, right? He is entitled to the full estate as the sole heir without a Will. If a will is found then it could possibly leave the estate to the girlfriend. For Joey, it seems better for there to be no will.

Good luck,

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