Good evening, and thank you for your question.
Unfortunately, in California an oral statement made on how to distribute an item of an estate made by the decedent is not valid. A will must be in writing to be valid under California law. Therefore, if the dish set was not specifically devised under the will (there was no written language in the will that stated "I give the dish set to "X", for example) then it is considered part of the estate, and must be distributed in accordance with the terms of the original will. In other words, it has to be divided equally between all the beneficiaries
, or, if they agree, sold, and the profits split.
Distributions under the will are the LAST thing that typically happens in an estate. If there is a probate, they usually take around 6 months to complete from start to finish (though if it is a complex, high value estate, can take much longer) and distributions would be at the very end before the estate is closed.
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