Can something be willed that is registered in someone else’s name?

My step father passed away a little over a month ago, and in his will he stated
that a four wheeler/atv is to be sold to assist in paying for funeral cost. That
certain atv is registered in my name. Because it is in the will, am I legally
bound to sell it? I guess I don’t know where I stand here. He transferred the
registration into my name 2 years prior to his death as a side note.

Asked on September 22, 2017 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you  cannot will another person's property, and if the ATV is in your name, not his, it is your property: his will has no power over you or ATV. Wills are typically written long before people pass away, and so when the write them, they don't know what they will or will not own at death. Therefore, the way to really read or understand a will is as a set of "contingencies"; i.e. "IF I own the following ATV, it should be sold to pay for funeral expenses." Since he no longer owned it, it no longer falls under his will.

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