What is the status of a property that was in a Will but has since been sold and purchased?

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What is the status of a property that was in a Will but has since been sold and purchased?

Over 3 years ago, my mother made a Will stating when she died her home would be sold and the profits split between my brother and I. I purchased the home and property about 1 1/2 years ago. My mother recently died, now my brother states that when I sell the house he is entitled to half of the profits. Is he or is that part of the Will void since my purchase?

Asked on July 22, 2019 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A Will can only convey that which the deceased owned as of the date of their death. Any property that was included in the Will but that was transferrred prior to the death of the maker of the Will, is no longer considered to be property of the estate. Accordingly, the terms of the Will longer affect it. In this case, since your have been the legal owner of your late mother's house for well before she passed, it is yours. The provision in the Will dealing with the house is void.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Your brother is wrong. A will does NOT limit or control what a person does with her property before her death, and if property is disposed of prior to death, it is taken out from under the will. A will should be read as (for example), "IF I STILL OWN MY HOUSE WHEN DIE, then it will be sold and the profits divided as follows...." But since the house was sold, the will's provisions relating to the house are void. (By your brother's logic, if the will said, "I leave my son John Doe $100,000" but the parent spent or lost all their money, $100,000 would have to magically come from somewhere to fulfill the will--clearly, that does not happen.)


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