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How is the Personal Property of one's estate (my Grandfather's) distributed if it is not specifically mentioned in the Will?

Dallas, TX |

In my Grandfather's Will, regarding the "Real Property", he left one of his houses to one child and another house to his other child. Everything else, including bank account money, mineral rights, etc... was left equally to his 2 children and 2 grandchildren. However, the house left to my Aunt has all of his Personal Property in it as it was the house he was living in. My Grandfather was clear that all of his Personal belongings was to be distributed evenly, but my Aunt believes it all belongs to her bc she inherited the house containing said property. The Will regarding both houses read: "I give, devise, bequeath the real prop (address of prop) with the improvements and contents of any improvements to". Both houses read that exactly, the only difference is the addresses and Children

What I quoted before from the Will was in regards to and cited as his "Real Property". In his Will, after what I quoted regarding real property, it goes on to say: "I give, devise, and bequeath the rest and residue of my estate to (all 4 beneficiaries listed here), share and share alike, per stirpes and not per capita". So, is my Aunt correct that the way the Will reads she is entitled to all of my grandfather's personal property since it is pretty much all in the house she inherited?

Attorney Answers 3


You should consult a probate or estate planning attorney to carefully review the terms of the will. Based on how you stated the will reads, it seems the personal property in the Aunt's house was indeed devised (given) to her. The key words here are: "with the improvements and contents of any improvements to". Improvements include houses, barns, etc., that are placed upon land. The "contents of any improvements" would suggest to mean the personal property contained within the house or other improvement.

The answer provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice, nor does it establish or intend to establish an attorney-client relationship. You should always speak with a licensed attorney regarding your legal rights before taking or not taking any particular action.

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Although the quoted language is helpful, we cannot really interpret a Will without reading the entire Will. Also, we are not rendering legal opinions on this site. There is no attorney/client relationship and to get a real opinion, you need to consult with an experience probate lawyer. The Will must be probated to have any effect whatsoever. The judge would then interpret it, if there is a dispute as to its meaning. The Independent Executor appointed by the court will administer the estate and ultimately distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will. Having said all that, I think the most likely interpretation is that the items in the house go with the house and things built on the land go with the house on that land.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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I would agree with Mr. Koel and Mr. Paxton that I would need to read the entire Will prior to rendering a more conclusive opinion. That said, based solely on the information shared by you, it would suggest that your interpretation is correct and the personal property should NOT go with the house, but instead is separate and distinct from the real property.

I would reiterate however that without reading the entire Will, it is difficult to say conclusively how your Grandfather intended his property to be distributed amongst his heirs. Moreover, a Court may interpret the Will differently than I would, and the Court's opinion will really be the only one that matters.

You would benefit greatly by engaging competent legal counsel in this subject area. Good luck with your endeavor.

There is no legal relationship created or implied by the exchange of messages or information on this website. All statements by me are offered as general guidance, but should not be considered in any way to be legal advice for you to act on without consultation with a licensed lawyer in your state. In all cases, an attorney should be retained to review the full circumstances and deliver advice consistent with the information and guidance offered on this site. Legal advice is ONLY offered by me in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Byron Keith Barclay

Byron Keith Barclay


Alternatively however, the clause which suggests that the "improvements, along with any contents within the improvements" accompany the real property MAY in fact support your Aunt's interpretation. Regrettably, this matter is too complicated given the limited information that you have offered. I am sorry that I cannot be more definitive for you at this time.

Curtis Hastings Schwake

Curtis Hastings Schwake


This question will turn on that problematic phrase "along with any contents".

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