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AZ - caregiver/roomate wants house and account

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my brother shot himself on may 1, 2001 in bullhead city, az. his caregiver/roomate has told my sister and i (only living relatives) that my brother and he had gone to an attorney to have papers drawn up naming the roommate as beneficiary of his house that he bought only 30 days prior. he also says that he intends to claim 1/3 of my brothers savings account of $18,000. my question is: can a non--relative lay legal claim to real property and money? is the alleged contract my brother had drawn up legal? even though not signed by my brother?




MAY 10, 2001


I'm sorry that you have to endure such a tragic loss.

You may need to get an attorney to review this so-called contract. Does this so-called contract have a title--is it called a will or power of attorney or simply just a contract? A contract normally is not legal unless all parties have signed it, so the fact that your brother did not sign it is somewhat suspicious and would indicate that this document was just one-sided and drawn up by this roommate for his own benefit. After the attorney has reviewed this contract, he can advise you from there, and no one can say for sure whether or not the contract was legal until they have looked at it.

This roommate might submit a claim/or bill to the estate, but he can't just automatically claim the savings account unless his name was on the account card information/application at the bank as co-owner or beneficiary, which I would guess he was not listed. Do you know what bank the funds are held at?

Did your brother have a will or not? If he didn't, then someone in the family needs to file at the probate court to be administrator of his estate, and start the process of claiming his assets (bank accounts, personal property, etc.). Someone would need to check with his place of employment to find out if he had life insurance policies or other benefits there also.

Please clarify your description of this caregiver/roommate: are you saying that they were only platonic friends/roommates (as far as you know), or is there an assumption or implication that they were romantically involved as domestic partners?

If you live close enough to Bullhead City to be able to begin handling his affairs, then do so, but if you live too far away, then consider hiring an attorney to take care of things for you.


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