Garden City, NY asked in Estate Planning for New York

Q: What possessions in a life estate belong to the homeowner?

We received our house through a life estate in 2020 from my mother in law's death. The deed is now in my wife's and my name. In her Will, which was not probated, she left the house furnishings to my daughters. Not very bright, but typical of her. One of my daughters lives with us and said that if we ever throw her out, she is taking everything (sinks, cabinets, toilets, ceiling fans, etc.). I don't think she can. First, the Will was never probated and second, I think whatever is attached to the house is my wife's. We are tired of the threats of her removing everything from the house.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If you are the owners of the house, all fixtures are part of the house. Furnishings are items such as tables, sofas, beds, chairs, etc. If your daughter wishes to enforce that provision, the Will would first need to go through the probate process.

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