When someone leaves coins/cash to numerous relatives, who gets them?

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When someone leaves coins/cash to numerous relatives, who gets them?

My uncle left a handwritten notarized Will. He left a home and the contents to my brother and a all the coins/cash to the remaining nieces and nephews.The coins were in 2 safety deposit boxes and cash in checking accounts. While going through his house, my brother discovered several boxes of coins. My uncle stated that my brother received none of the coins or cash because he was left the property/contents. Who should get the coins he discovered in the house?

Asked on August 28, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your answer depends on how the will is written and how your state interprets what the will says.  You wrote that your uncle "left a home and the contents" to your brother.  In Florida, the first question would be, "is the will ambiguous?"  If it is not, then the written words in the will control and must be enforced.

Although, "the contents" could be interpreted to include coins found in the house, Florida and most states interpret "the contents" of a home to include only the fixtures and items that go along with living in a home.  That usually does not include coins.  In your uncle's case, it almost certainly would not include coins if his will said specifically that your brother was to receive none of the coins or cash.  None is unambiguous.

The remaining nieces and nephews have a legitimate claim to the coins and can ask the Probate Court to resolve this.  If your brother or the representative of the estate disagree, the rest of you should consult an estate lawyer and make your case to the Probate Court.


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