What is the law the about personal property of someone who has given that property away?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is the law the about personal property of someone who has given that property away?

My mother moved with me 11 months ago. My family had been living with her in her home and taking care of her at her home. I got a job in another city and had to move. I did not want my mom living alone since she had cancer. She decided to move with me and I had to pay to get all of her personal property and mine moved to my new home. I told my mom that if she moved with me, she needed to give me the property since I had to spend a lot more money to get a home to accommodate her. She said she would. She told me and my wife that it was mine. Anything not in the Will was mine since it was in my house. My mother passed away over 3 weeks ago and I am the executor. My sister made up an incorrect list of personal property and when I talked to her about it she seemed to think half was hers. She is not factoring in the cost I had to pay to move all this stuff or the fact that mom gave it to me. She said she would go to court if we could not work it out. I hold that since it is in my house that is enough to prove it is mine. My sister thinks that because people can witness that the property in her old house was mom’s that is it is still mom’s when she did. She fails to take into affect that mom had the right to do anything with her furniture after she moved. My wife is a witness that she gave it to me. The assets are worth less than $1000 so I don’t know why my sister want to push this. What is the law concerning this matter?

Asked on July 28, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The law is that a person has the right to gift or otherwise dispose of her property however she likes; and a gift, once given, belongs to the recipient. So legally, if your mother gave her personal property to you, it is yours. Practically, if your sister disagrees that your mother did in fact give this to you, she could bring a legal action to have a judge listen to the testimony and evidence and decide who it belongs to. Whether it is worthwhile bringing--or if brought, defending/fighting--a lawsuit over less than $1,000 is something you and your sister must decide.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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