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Specific Bequests in a Will

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2014 | Estate Plan |

In the process of making a will, a testator can be “specific, general, or demonstrative” in how their belongings will be disbursed after their death. A specific bequest dives into the specific personal items that the testator wants to give; the language of a specific bequest uses the language of “my and me” to denote the possession of the testator. Usually when we think of items involved in a will, we think of tangible items that can be touched and used in everyday life. When putting a tangible item into a specific bequest it is necessary to use the possessive language. For example: my diamond necklace that I’ve had for twenty years. Sometimes, these specific bequests can be outside of the will itself and mentioned in a memorandum instead; the memo would be referenced in the will. The only problem with putting specific bequests in a memorandum is that memorandums cannot be amended unless under certain situations, whereas wills can be amended as much as a testator wants.

A tangible bequest can be in the form of money, and in that case it would be deemed a “pecuniary bequest.” With this bequest, it is always known how exactly the money will be allocated through a formula.

When the tangible specific bequest is real estate, the property goes straight to the grantee when the testator dies subject to the testators existing mortgage situation; insurance on the property in addition to securities stay in place and flows to the next owner of the property in a death situation. Timeshares and co-ops do not fall under this real property rule; they are placed under personal property that needs to be specifically addressed. Securities also owned by the testator as a result of a merger or consolidation will be passed on to the beneficiaries of the estate.

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