Personal Gifts in a Will

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 What Are the Different Types of Personal Gifts?

A bequest is referred to as the gift granted in a will. Different types of gifts can be a part of the will. Usually, these personal gifts are meant for certain people. The first type is general gifting which leaves a particular monetary amount to a beneficiary. Next is the Demonstrative gifts that name the account where the money will come from. Another type is the beneficiaries of residuary bequests which are granted what is left over after all debts are paid, and other gifts are distributed.

If you have been named a beneficiary, you will receive your gift based on one of the ways stated above. Knowing the different types of gifts and how they can be distributed allows you to understand how your loved one wanted to distribute their property.

The first type is a specific gift given to a beneficiary in the will. For instance, a grandfather can write that their car will be granted to their grandson. In this case, the gift is the car, and the beneficiary is the grandson. There are no limitations when it comes to the types of gifts that can be written in a will. However, the item being given away must be legally owned by the owner, so in this case, the creator of the will.

Furthermore, the gift must be described so that everyone can understand it. It may be as broad as possible or as specific as possible regarding the description. But, any financial gifts should be described in enough detail to make the account identifiable without including the account number.

In this era, gifts can also be digital assets. This can consist of online photo galleries, PayPal, or other contents of online accounts. In these cases, it is recommended that the will contain instructions on accessing these various online accounts. Without this knowledge, it would be challenging to prove anything.

The second type of gift is known as a general gift. These are typically monetary gifts that can vary in their amount. Also, the named source for the funds is not specified. For instance, the will can state, “I leave $4,000 to my Nephew, James Franklin,” without indicating which account this money should come from.

Another type is a demonstrative bequest, similar to a general gift in that it also regards a monetary gift. But, in this case, the money source is mentioned. For example, “I leave $4,000 to my nephew, James Franklin, to be taken from my primary checking account.” The only distinction between a demonstrative gift and a general gift is whether the source of the money is named.

The last type of gift is referred to as residuary. This type of gift is when once all the estate’s debts have been paid off and the administration costs have been covered, the remainder is sent to the appropriate beneficiaries.

Residuary beneficiaries will receive everything not named in other gifts, so whatever remains not directly accounted for will be granted to them. It is considered anything that cannot go to a named person in any other way and anything acquired after the will was created. In some states, if one of the beneficiaries of a specific bequest passes away before the testator, that asset or item rolls over to the residuary beneficiaries.

There are other laws specifying what occurs when the beneficiary passes away before the execution of the will. Being aware of what may occur in these situations will be helpful in the future. Complex situations dealing with gifts in a will can arise, and it is crucial to consult a lawyer to know your legal options. Most of these regulations vary depending on your state; therefore, researching your local laws on on estate planning will be important.

What Happens When You Are Named as a Beneficiary?

Particular rights attach once you are named a beneficiary in a will. Notification must be provided to the beneficiary from the creator or executor of the will. Also, they must inform you about what you have inherited, but they do not need to provide details regarding the full content of the will. However, once the will is filed and probated, it becomes a public document for the public to. Once this is available for access, you can request a copy of the will to understand and know about the rest of the will’s contents.

Furthermore, once you are named beneficiary, you have a right to obtain the inheritance within a reasonable time. You can check the local jurisdiction on this, but typically a year is considered a reasonable amount of time. However, if there is a delay in the distribution process, you can contact the probate court and request an explanation. If, for some reason, you are not pleased with the explanation, you or any of the other beneficiaries can petition the court to replace the executor with someone else who will manage the distribution and settlement of the estate better.

Keep in mind that although wills are meant to fulfill the deceased’s last wishes, in some situations, their debts may be higher than their assets. Therefore, even if you are named beneficiary, there is a chance that you may not receive the specified amount, less than the amount, or none of the amount. The estate first must pay off all the debts under their name before any of their assets can be transferred to the beneficiaries.

What Happens if There Is an Issue in the Distribution of the Gifts?

An issue can arise regarding the distribution of the estate property. For instance, there could be a problem due to the lack of funds or a transfer of ownership. During these times, it is important to understand what type of gift you inherited from the will. For example, specific gifts are more protected from creditors than demonstrative gifts. Therefore, if there are debts owed against the estate, the money to pay them will first be removed from any residuary funds, then general, then demonstrative, and finally specific assets, unless the will states or implies otherwise.

But, if an item stated in the specific gift is no longer with the testator, the beneficiary cannot claim it. This issue is known as ademption. You can further consult with an estate attorney on how to plan and protect yourself from this issue arising in your estate planning. Beneficiaries of demonstrative bequests, however, are often protected from ademption.

As with any legal procedure, obtaining your share of the estate can be lengthy. Depending on your state and family situation, legal issues may arise as the estate planning process continues. There are different variables when it comes to this process, and local laws can impact the outcome.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

If you have been named a beneficiary in a will providing you with a certain gift. There are many ways that the executor has set it up for you, as mentioned earlier. Knowing some of these methods and understanding what they entail can be useful for you.

Furthermore, to avoid litigation and confusion regarding the gift in the will, you can contact a local will lawyer to assist you. There is a reasonable time frame to receive these gifts; if you do not receive them promptly, you can request your lawyer to help you resolve this.


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