What happens if property listed in a Will is later sold?

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What happens if property listed in a Will is later sold?

A Will was made leaving property to 5 siblings. At a later date, part of the property was sold to 1 of the siblings. The Will does not reflect this change. Is this person entitled to what was stated in the Will? The sibling has been paying the taxes and insurance on the entire property and is

maintaining it.

Asked on June 24, 2016 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A Will can only convey that property which remains in the estate as of the date of the death of the testator (i.e. the person who made the Will). This means that it can be sold or otherwise transferred prior. As for any property remaining in the estate, it is distributed as per the terms of the Will; prior transactions do not change that.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, wills do NOT control what happens to property before the testator (person making the will) dies: the will really should be thought of "do this with my property if it's still there when I die." Similarly, the will is not affected by a benefiary being gifted or sold money, property or other assets before the testator's death--that does not reduce that person's share.
So, say that the will gave property A to siblings 1 - 5 in equal shares. Before the testator died, he sold 1/2 of property A to sibling 1. That means that the remaining 1/2 of the property is given in equal shares to the 5 siblings on the testator's death; the fact that sibling one bought 1/2 of the property earlier doesn't prevent him or her from getting his or her share as set out in the will.


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