Q: My mother-in-law recently passed away aren’t gifts she received during life her personal property?
Now the kids are asking for what they gave her back my husband is successor trustee I told him the items belong to her and that if nothing is identified to go back to any specific person, that they will have to follow what the trust says in order to disburse it
A: Anything given to her belonged to her and not the givers of the gifts. Their rights ended when they gave the item to her. It’s a common misconception we see. Hopefully the will or trust provide instructions for distribution. Your husband should hire an attorney to advise him. Good luck. -John Palley
A: You are correct. Personal belongings are personal property and belong to the decedent. If she had no Will, they would pass to her natural heirs. If she had a Will, they would pass to those named under the Will. If they were owned by the trust at the time of her death, they would pass under the terms of her trust.
A: You are correct that any property given to her as a gift is her personal property and will have to be distributed based upon the terms of the trust. The law has very specific requirements as to what the trustee is required to do, including notice, accounting, and other steps. Your husband should consult an attorney to make sure he is complying fully with the terms of the trust and the law, especially if there may be disgruntled family members who may be upset if things do not go the way they want.
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