If in a Will I was left a house and all its contents and there is a car in the garage, is that mine also?

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If in a Will I was left a house and all its contents and there is a car in the garage, is that mine also?

Asked on November 17, 2017 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A car is not generally considered the "contents" of a house. That doesn't mean that it may not go to you, but if there are other provisions which leave it to someone else, it will go to that person. Only if there is nothing leaving it to another would it then go to you.
Example: if the will specifically leaves the car to "John Doe," John Doe gets it.
Or if there is a clause stating that "I leave my personal property to John Doe" or even "I leave the rest and residue of my estate to John Doe," John gets the car:
* a car is personal property, so this would be a more specific description or statement of who gets it (in interpreting wills and contracts, more specific terms or provisions overrule more general ones)
* as stated, a car is not generally considered "contents" of a house--the contents are generally fixtures and furniture--so with a provision saying that everything else ("rest and residue") goes to another, that would control.
But if there is nothing in the will directing the car to another person, then since it was at the house (in the garage), the default will be that it goes to the person getting the home.


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