Estate assets are distributed in accordance with a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Oftentimes, a Last Will and Testament will provide guidelines as to how a decedent’s personal property shall be distributed. However, there may still be personal property remaining that does not have specific instructions for its distribution. In regard to this remaining personal property, there are many ways to distribute a decedent’s personal items when there are no instructions available, though there are some general ways.
If a Last Will and Testament does not provide information regarding the distribution of certain personal property, then the decedent’s Executor or Administrator must determine how the property will be distributed. The representative of an Estate should use their best efforts to evenly distribute the personal property in accordance with the proportions dictated in the Will or under the law. Sometimes, this may involve taking into account an item that may have personal meaning to an individual. While most estates contain personal property of little to no monetary value, in some instances, the decedent’s personal property may contain high-end artwork, jewelry, antiques, or even valuable wine collections. In that case, these items should be appraised to obtain the current monetary value of the property. If all the parties agree upon the distribution of the decedent’s personal property, it may be proper for adjustments to be made to cash distributions when the personal property is of high value.
While most people agree that personal property be subject to equal distribution when the items have little to no monetary value, there are often disputes when dealing with high priced items. In the event that a decedent’s heirs are unable to come to an agreement surrounding the decedent’s personal property, a Court may be required to intervene. In general, most courts require that a decedent’s personal property be distributed to the heirs as equally as possible. If a dispute arises over a piece of personal property, a court may require the property be put up for sale and the proceeds would then be distributed to the heirs. Some heirs may choose to negotiate with one another to buy out the other person that is interested in a particular item in a decedent’s estate.
If you are involved in a legal dispute regarding the distribution of personal property or other probate issues, it is important to contact an experienced New York probate lawyer. The New York probate lawyers at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates PC are skilled in handling matters relating to the probate of wills and administering estates. With an office conveniently located in Garden City, Nassau County, the firm is dedicated to providing high-quality legal representation at reasonable costs. Contact our Long Island probate lawyers at (516) 280-7105 to arrange a free consultation.