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originallawyer, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 867
Experience:  9+ years of experience in writing wills and probating estates in a variety of ways.
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My ex-girlfriend and I broke up a little over a week ago.

Customer Question

My ex-girlfriend and I broke up a little over a week ago. She opted to leave and I paid for her flight as she did not want to take a U-Haul. She did not want to take some of her property, packed up some bags and took off. Going back a few months when things started to not go well, I said if she flew back home, I would give her some cash since she's leaving some property here. Fast forward to last week, I spent quite a chunk of change on her flight and am not able to give her any cash (and considering how much I spent and realizing she didn't go home and took a more expensive flight and flew to Hawaii, I didn't want to give her MORE money).
Yesterday, in an attempt to receive a statement from her in writing saying that she was relinquishing her property and it was ok to sell it, she got upset and said I could not sell it.
Can I still just give her the ultimatum to pick her stuff up in 30 days or I will get rid of it or does my statement to give her cash (we never confirmed anything) or the fact she is not giving me permission to sell the property stop me from doing so?
Sorry if this is a little confusing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

1. You don't have to give her any more money. Unless your agreement was in writing, and signed, she's got nothing there. So your statement to give her cash wouldn't prevent you from selling her stuff.

2. Before you sell anything, you'd need to send her a letter, certified mail, return receipt requested stating that you are going to dispose of her belongings by a date certain. 30 or 45 days is usually considered sufficient notice. If she really cares about her stuff, she'll come get it or send someone to come get it.

Even if you give her plenty of notice, there's always the possibility that she can ignore the letter and then sue you later to get the money you received from selling her stuff, or if you give or throw it away, she could try and sue for the value of the belongings. Her success in this suit would depend on how long she waited to bring the suit (for instance, you send this letter next week and she waits 3 years to sue you), and how much money we're talking about, etc. And it would also depend on the Judge.

You are not required to store her property for her, but to protect yourself, give her a reasonable amount of time and if she does agree to let you sell her stuff, get it in writing and get an itemized list.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would an email and/or text suffice? I'm not sure where she's staying (she's staying with a friend in Hawaii).
Expert:  originallawyer replied 1 year ago.

No, it needs to be through the mail to give you proof in court if she ever sues you. You can absolutely prove that she got the letter, whereas text/emails can disappear, be faked, etc.