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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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My mother just passed away and left the house to me in the

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My mother just passed away and left the house to me in the will. My sister thinks that half the contents in the house is hers. I have been telling her that she doesn't get any of the contents in the house because the house was left to me. Does she get anything in the house? She wants to auction off the furniture and take half of all proceeds. I do not want to do that but I am not sure what the law states. Please help.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.

DearCustomer- There is a difference in real and personal property. Since I have not read the will I can only base my opinion on the limited facts I have. If the will says that you are to receive the real estate and does not mention the contents or personal property then the personal property would pass separately under the will.


Assuming there are no other heirs involved and the will says something like "the rest and remainder of my estate goes to my two daughters" then you and your sister would have to split the remaining property including the contents of the house that are not part of the real estate such as drapes and built in appliances etc.


Generally it is easier and more economical to try to agree on which items each heir receives rather than selling everything. In this case you would be better off trying to keep items that would be necessary for living in the house such as TV, furniture etc. If you cannot agree then you would have to sell everything and split the proceeds.


If the will says that you receive the house "including the contents" then you could keep everything.


David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you David. You are correct, the will does say anything about the personal property in the house. I just assumed that if I were to receive the house at my mothers death then everything inside would be mine. It sounds like that is incorrect. That is good to know so I'm knowledgable in the negotiations with my sister. The house is in West Virginia. Does this law apply in all states? The will states nothing about timing. My sister is pushing me hard to sell (auctioner) soon. Do I have to do it now or can I grieve and wait a while. Again, the will states nothing regarding selling contents or the timing of dividing the negligible worth of the contents. Thanks David!
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.

This would be the law everywhere and as far as timing your sister will probably have to wait until the estate is opened and the debts are paid etc. If you can divide the property item by item you may be better off or simply purchase what you really want from your sister and let her deal with everything else.


The estate must be opened in order to transfer the real estate to you unless there was a survivorship deed in place. Until the estate process is dealt with you will not have to do anything with the personal property since it remains property of the estate, not the heirs.


Dave Kennett

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