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If the will does not mandate that the property be sold (some do but most wills don't make such a demand), then it is not necessary to sell the items. However, if the estate does not have cash assets in order to pay creditors and the attorney, then some assets will have to be sold to pay those costs/expenses or it will be necessary for her to pay those expenses out of pocket (to be reimbursed by receiving equivalent value estate property. The remaining property (that not used to pay expenses/costs or to reimburse her for out of pocket expenses) would be split 75/25. If the person taking 25% wants cash, well that's too bad if there is no cash. That person would take 25% of what's there and could then sell it if he/she wants to do so. If any items taken by that person are items that your mother wants, then she would have to buy them from the other person. There's always a way to work this stuff out without having to sell all property and the attorney should be assisting with designing ways to do that when he/she knows that much of the property has high sentimental value.
If the attorney is not helping with solutions, I would suggest finding another attorney.
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