Does a written legal Will supersede a verbal gift?

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Does a written legal Will supersede a verbal gift?

Our mother passed away leaving a Will. She designated a specific piece of jewelry to go to me. My oldest sister is claiming our mother gave it to her months before her death. Who legally should have the piece of jewelry?

Asked on January 23, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If it comes down to it, a court may have to decide. If your sister is in possession of the jewelry and has been since prior to your mother's death, then it will most likley be assumed that your mother made a gift of the jewelry to her; if she was not in possession of the jewelry, then your sister's claim is more dubious and she may have a hard time proving the gift, at least without a witness or other evidence. That having been said, if it is found that the jewelry was gifted to your sister as she claims, then the terms of the Will do not control since a Will only applies to the assets in an estate at the time of the testator's (i.e. the peson who made the Will) passing and the jewelry was then no longer an asset of your mother.


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