Is it appropriate to use “contents of the house” in a Will, if the maker of the Will is now residing in an assisted living facility?

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Is it appropriate to use “contents of the house” in a Will, if the maker of the Will is now residing in an assisted living facility?

My concern is that if my mother is in an assisted living facility or nursing home and there is no longer a “house” per se, her bequeathing the “contents of the house” makes so sense. We have a contentious family so these kinds of ambiguities need to be avoided. Wouldn’t it be better to use “personal property”?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is so good to think ahead and to do some planning while everything is good with your Mother.  But what you need to do is to take your Mother to an attorney or estate planner in your area to decide how to handle the matter in detail.  There are other options here than just a Will. And the options may best protect her assets. Maybe to place the house and the contents in a trust;  maybe to list the items individually that she wishes to go to whom; whatever works best given your familial situation.  You need to plan not only who gets what but that the "what" is still around and not taken by the facility to care for your Mother.  Please get help.  Good luck.


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