According to Best Life’s recent article titled “Never Include These 2 Things in Your Will, Experts Warn.”
- Never include a conditional gift in your will. A conditional gift is when money or property is given only when and if a specific event occurs. For instance, grandpa might leave a conditional gift for his grandchild if she graduates college or gets married. These provisions are often drafted to encourage or discourage certain behaviors and tend to get messy.
Even the seemingly basic condition of graduating from college can become a significant issue if the beneficiary decides to pursue the trades or accelerates in college and is offered an excellent job before earning her degree.
Similar obstacles—and, frequently, creative workarounds from beneficiaries who want to unlock their inheritance—will also be encountered with other conditional gifts. However, there are still ways to achieve the spirit of the conditional gift without it getting complicated. Instead, give the bequest outright without any conditions but include the encouragement that the beneficiary does something specific.
Another option is to hold the gift in a trust for a beneficiary. With a trust, you can designate a trustee to control the assets in the trusty after your death. The trustee will have discretion as to the timing and amount of distributions. You can also detail how narrow or broad that discretion should be.
- Be careful with dollar amount bequests. The second thing you should never include in your will is a dollar amount bequest.
While this might seem standard, it’s not recommended. This also has the potential to create significant conflict within a family.
A better option is to use percentages. In this way, your estate will self-correct for size, and each beneficiary will get their rightful share.
Every will is specific to the person who creates it. To ensure that yours is appropriately done, meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make a will that benefits you and your loved ones—without any unexpected problems.
Reference: Best Life (March 20, 2022) “Never Include These 2 Things in Your Will, Experts Warn”