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Dealing with a loved one's possessions after their death

Posted at 9:31 PM, Nov 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-15 23:47:15-05

Dealing with the death of a loved one is challenging enough, but it's even harder when you have to take care of their belongings as well.

Jennett Kohlmeyer is mourning the death of her friend Kathy Haynes who passed away in October.

Kohlmeyer and Haynes have been friends for twenty-five years.

Just before Kathy passed, she had a request that her friend takes over everything.

What made this more difficult for Jennett, this request was not in writing.

Jennett was staying at Kathy's place to take care of her dog when she passed away.

When she alerted Kathy's apartment complex of her friend's death, she was first told she would have time to get Kathy's things out.

Later that same afternoon, management locked her out and boarded up the apartment with Kathy's belongings still inside.

Jennett took Kathy's sister, Barbara, to Tulsa Housing Authority, hoping she would be let in.

Barbara was also told she was not allowed inside.

According to the Oklahoma Landlord and Tenant Act, the tenant needs to provide the landlord with the name, address, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of the tenant's death.

They also need to sign a statement authorizing the landlord in the event of the tenant's death to grant them access to the premises.

This is needed to allow the individual inside to remove any of the tenant's property.

The Executive Director of the Tulsa Apartment Association, Keri Cooper, tells us, "Unfortunately in an apartment scenario, the apartment manager can sometimes be in a situation where they're trying to figure out who is the right person."

Cooper tells us that landlords typically give families 30 days to remove a person's belongings, but they do have the right to put those items in storage.

While Jennett and Barbara wait to find out what will happen, she has one crucial piece of advice to help others avoid this kind of situation.

"Friends that care a lot about another friend, get it in writing you want them to have power of attorney when it comes time", Kohlmeyer says.

Also, to make sure you update your landlord every year or two who you want to be contacted in the event of your death.

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