Nashville, TN asked in Probate for Arkansas

Q: Do I need to probate household items if I own the house?

My aunt sold me her house in 2016, but still lived in it until her death this year. Do the household items need to be probated or are they mine since I’ve owned the house since 2016?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Contents of a house are separate from the house. IF your aunt still owned the contents when she died, then they are part of her probate estate.

I put "IF" in capital letters because that is a missing fact. Did she own them? Or did she sell them to you with the house? You would have to go back to the contract you signed with her to purchase the house and see if it also included contents. Was there a bill of sale for the contents? If so, then you probably own them.

In most states (you did not say which state this is), the typical Board of Realtors contract form states that contents left behind are included in the sale. If you did not engage a realtor or an attorney to help you with the purchase and did this on your own, the contents probably did not get assigned to you.

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