A Gift of “Personal Property” Means all but Real Estate

Written by Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.

A will left some specific items to individuals, left “all household and personal property” to Vargas then left a residuary clause. The estate consisted of about $290,00 in bank accounts, stocks, cars and household furnishings.

Vargas contended that she received everything except the specific gifts and that the only thing that passed by the residuary clause was some real estate.

Problem

Was the gift of “all my remaining household and personal property” limited by the term household? Or did it include all money as well?

Answer:

 In a will, an unqualified reference to “property” encompasses everything of exchangeable value that the testator owned, including real and personal property whether tangible or intangible.

“Personal property,” in contrast, excludes real property but otherwise remains broad in definition, including everything other than real property that is subject to ownership.

We reject Mitchell and Vasquez’s argument that Hunt’s combined bequest of household and personal property limits the latter category to tangible items. Hunt bequeathed “all of my remaining household and personal property” to Vargas. Mitchell and Vasquez’s proposed interpretation disregards Hunt’s use of the word “all,” which is incompatible with the limited conveyance of a subset of her personal property. 

“all personal property” means all, tangible and intangible.

In re Estate of Debra A. Hunt, 01-19-00216-CV, (Tex. App. – Houston[1st] Feb. 6, 2020 no pet. h.).

Ruling

  Hunt’s bequest of “all of my remaining household and personal property” is unambiguous—it conveys to Vargas all of Hunt’s personal property other than the family-related items that she gave to Mitchell.

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Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

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Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

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